A new friend who has read a number of my books told me yesterday that there was a thread running through all of them, and that, she said, was my search for a meaningful life. I thought as she spoke that this is my purpose, my point. It is why I came up to the country and bought a cabin 15 years ago, and then bought Bedlam Farm in 2003. It is why I have lived with animals, why I looked so hard for love and refused to accept a loveless life, why I have struggled to remove myself from the Fear Machine that surrounds all of – it is so much evident today – and why I work every day to bring peace to my spirit and a spiritual dimension to my life. This is why I take pictures and write books.
My path in the woods at Bedlam Farm has always symbolized this search for a meaningful life, more than any other part of the farm. This is where I walked with all of my dogs – Rose, Orson, Pearl, Lenore, Izzy, Frieda, Red, Clementine – and then Maria, who brought light into my life. This is where I can see change and growth. Yesterday I went with Maria's friends to help her move to her new studio and I went early to take Red for a walk on this path. It was cloudy, windy, gloomy, whispers of Sandy, I suppose, different from the beautiful life that framed my images of the path. Maybe fitting.
This is the last time I will ever walk on this path or take a photo of it. I know it confuses, even upsets people, but I believe in moving forward in my own life, not looking back. Nostalgia, for me, is a trap. I have no wish to look backwards or lament what it is lost, or tell my life in terms of struggle. My life is ahead of me, not behind me.
I said good bye to the path, thanked it for the images, the memories, the chance to mark my life. Goodbye, in a way, to the dogs, to the Imaginary Squirrel, to the excitement, loneliness, confusion, creativity and fear that marked so much of my life. I am seeking some new paths, and finding them. That, in a way, is what a meaningful life is all about. Growth, change, self-determination, purpose. Love, love, love. And today the gift of this beautiful and awful storm, which will dislocate and disrupt, even take, the lives of many people. I think of them all today, hold them in my heart, wish them peace and compassion. Still, the storm is yet another unwanted but appreciated gift, another chance to turn fear away and to accept the nature of life. Another way to vote for myself, to say again and again, I will not live in fear, I will not pay for fear, I will not bend to it. That is the message of my path.
This morning, a new path, in so many ways.