Sometimes life turns upside down, inside out and backwards. Today was such a day.
This morning, in need of inner resolution I jumped in the new family minivan, turned on some B52s, rolled down the window and cruised down the Old Dixie highway. I landed at a little park called Bulow Creek. At the entrance is a massive 2,000 year old tree with a trunk so large it would take the arms of five men to surround it.
I gave it a hug (I do that sort of thing when no one is looking!) and settled myself down at its base with an iced tea, a pen and a notebook. I kicked off my shoes and let my mind drift with the clouds and to my surprise felt a welling of sadness.
My thoughts wandered past the beautiful park to ruminations on my role in life. I am an author but I am also a homemaker. I live in duality. On one hand I am a master in my own realm. At my keyboard I have power and control. I create worlds out of letters, commas and periods. On the other hand I am a wife, a mother. I create dinner out of noodles and a jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce. In my writer life, I am an architect of ideas letting thoughts spill from my mind. In my homemaker life I am a tender, keeping the chaos from tumbling out the front door.
So, today as I sat under that ancient tree I had a conversation of sorts with these two selves. When I envisioned the writer, her wild curly tendrils of hair, her feet bare, a hippy girl to boot, I liked what I saw. She was free, comfortable with herself and made decisions based on passion and feeling rather than by “shoulds” and “must haves”. Then there was the homemaker who I imagined with smoothed hair tucked beneath a headband, a pair of the latest running shoes on her feet. She was strong in the context of her home but dependent on her husband and the happiness of her kids and sadly bound by the constraints of the walls of her house. And though she is equally me, I didn’t like what I saw. I preferred the writer chick.
And so as I sat beneath the swaying arch of moss covered branches, feeling torn by these two selves I began to cry. I let it pour out of me, like a summer storm that never seems to stop.
With my eyes filled with tears I turned and placed my hand on the elephant- like skin of the tree, and felt its ancient stability, strong and firm. I then looked to the sky where the branches rolled with the wind, reaching outward to the sun. And in the peace of the moment I knew things would be okay.
I want to tell you I found complete resolution that day under that tree this morning. But I didn’t. I need to be a good mom. I need to be a good wife. I know this. But some days I resent my inner homemaker. She is needy and incomplete. I want to be more than that. Resolution doesn’t always come easy.
After a half hour of being alone with the tree I stood up, arched my head way back to see the gnarly limbs above, snapped this picture and smiled. I know there are no answers for big questions like these, just patience, calm, and slow growth—something the Fairchild Oak knows very well. I smiled to the tree, gave it a goodbye hug and headed home.