Play this song while reading this post.
The breeze is swirling my hair into my face. The perfume of pine needles envelopes me. The warm sun makes my eye lids heavy. Suddenly, the music rushes me back in time, to a different place, that's not really all that different.
Fifteen years ago, I worked and lived in Yosemite National Park. Although I worked full time and spent as many of my waking hours hiking, there were times of solitude. My favorite locale was about a quarter mile from my dorm. I would take my chair, my discman (yes, this was pre-iPod days), pencil, and paper. I would sit near the mighty Merced River and write.
Between prepositional phrases, I would raise my eyes to the grand granite cliffs. A dragonfly would dart in front of me and divert my gaze. The breeze would loosen tendrils from my ponytail. The aroma of pine needles and sunscreen greeted me. The music echoed the sounds of birds in the forest, blurring the lines between digital and reality. And I wrote on.
I wrote to heal. I was still healing from five years in an abusive relationship. I had been stripped down to the core and left with no self-esteem, confidence, love. Writing helped me. I mostly wrote notes of encouragement to myself but I did occasionally write notes of encouragement to others. You see, helping them heal helped me heal.
And here I sit, today. Instead of granite cliffs, my view is of a beautiful pine-covered mountain. I still smell the sunlight on the pine needles. Birds echo the sounds of digital birds from my CD. And I'm still writing.
But, I have started a new chapter. No longer do I write prose to restore what was lost. Now, I write lesson plans to restore what was lost.
I have been called out of the public education system and into behavioral health (and healing). I write lesson plans for teachers, to show them how to embed Social Emotional Learning into everyday lessons. To help them restore what was lost.
The sun is the same, as is the breeze. A dragonfly just darted by. The view is similar, as is the writing. A new chapter in my life. But, not really all that new. More like an extension of a work begun fifteen years ago.