MORNING AT HEATHWOOD

They rise up straight from the ground, the trees that surround my cabin.  I’m back at Gilchrist for the seventh (?) time and it settles around me like a blanket.

I didn’t plan to attend this retreat, but my foolhardy determination to take on yet another part-time job was thwarted by a sudden health scare.  How many times can one ignore the warnings whispered by the subconscious?  Quite regularly, it seems.  I was accustomed to blowing past anything that stood between me and solvency.  Besides, it was my birthday weekend and I had been secretly hoping my workaholic husband would fete me.  But he scheduled a mountain of work instead and I was left alone.  What better to do than follow suit?  A wad of cash makes a good substitute for neglect.

Apparently, fate had other plans.  I discovered quite unpleasantly, but not unexpectedly, that my working in a toxic environment had seriously jeopardized my ability to breath.  No problem, I thought; I’ll simply strap on a few Borg-like devices and happily continue deluding myself.  Not so, for it appears my entire body had become reactive.  My days of compartmentalizing were over.

I cried at first.  Hasty excuses and explanation had to be tendered, but I was relieved, relieved down to the bottom of my soul.  And I wasn’t sure who or what wept those tears.  Was it me or that indefinite thing called ‘soul’?  I knew I had dodged a bullet, but not in the common sense.  Yes, if I had taken the next familiary step and forged ahead, my health would be at permanent risk.  But that is not what frightened me.  I had been given a choice:  Soldier on or be forever divided from my soul.  For what does one truly profit if the world is gained but the soul lost?

I didn’t want to find out.  So I hastily drove the two hours to the Michigan forest where my soul is delighted, but my mind is annoyed.  Can’t I ever get these two to peacefully co-exist?

The mind wants stubbornly to dismiss the beauty about me.  A cardinal, with fine scarlet feathers, perched outside my window, not three feet away from my chair.  How did he know I watched him?  Was he as curious about my scratching on paper as I in his pointed crest?  Only a pane of glass separated us, but it might as well have been a gulf.

Or maybe he, and the doe grazing beyond him and the rhododendrons beckoning outside my door are calling me to put down the pen and come to play.

I will answer them now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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