Reflections on Wildbranch, 30 days later

This past June 4th, I took an official step into a 10-year plan. Ten years may seem like a long time to some of you, but since I’ve turned 40, I realized that 10 years is much like a catkin wisp of cottonwood seed, floating past in a billowing wind. Along its journey, it lingers for awhile here and there, it has its ups and downs, but the wind continues to push it along and before you know it, it is out of sight.

Over the next 10 years, I’m certain my plan will morph into many different plans, but the common core of it should remain the same, and that is, to sustain myself by doing something I love and something that improves the current environmental landscape. I am also hoping to free myself from corporate culture, and that (gulp) includes a steady paycheck.

Today, that “something” that I’m being called to is writing about the state of the environment that I live in and attempting to change the world through my writing. The last part of my plan, to change the world, might be considered unattainable, but perhaps not if you define changing the world as changing peoples’ ideas about the world. This blog serves as step two of my 10-year plan – to practice writing about the environment as much as possible. The frustrating part of step two is that “as much as possible” has turned out to be a lot less than what I hoped for. Granted, after returning from a 9-day vacation, I suffered from a bit of shell-shock and it took me awhile to get back into the routine of things. I’m looking forward to July, which offers much more time for writing.

So, 30 days ago, I arrived at Sterling College in Vermont for the Wildbranch Workshop. It was a week full of self-doubt and self-revelation, self-imposed failures, frustration, inspiration, and successes. It was quite an emotional week for me as I re-discovered what I love about my life and began a journey focused on making the most of my remaining years on this planet. I know that my recollections of that week over the years will bring me back to different memories, and sadly, fuzzier memories as time goes by. However, the vividness of certain emotions that I experienced throughout the week will never leave me. I remember stepping off the back porch of the public library after writing my first piece of creative writing in 15+ years. I remember the apprehension I felt, but I also remember the giving spirit of Craftbury Commons and the serenity that the sunset bestowed upon me that evening. I remember listening…really listening, to the chirping of crickets…and being awake long enough to hear them rather than falling asleep within just a few minutes as usual. I remember turning memories of my mother over in my mind and finding some scraps of peace amongst the troubled relationship that we had as I began to write about some of my memories of her.

My closing tonight is full of hope that the spirit of Wildbranch will carry me through the next 10 years and beyond.

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