Driving home today, last week’s mantel of golden leaves had fallen from Elmore Mountain, leaving only a dull gray and dark evergreen. In Vermont, the seasons change fierce and hard, the fall hammering away summer’s softness, the spring mud swallowing winter’s crystalline beauty.
The last of our winter’s firewood has yet to be stacked, sprawled over the grass. I’m impatient, anxious for the wood to be stacked and drying, my precious heat. My older daughter complains about the ceaselessness of this chore: we cut and split the wood, stack piles, carry armloads into the house, load the stove, shovel the ashes out, and do all this again. And again, and so on….
I point out this year I actually bought firewood.
Whatever, she says, rolling her eyes, exasperated.
As kindly as I can (which might be little), I say, But that’s life.
She’s sixteen; she’s not buying my advice. I can hardly fault my daughter. At sixteen, my own eyes were on the linear horizon, eyeing the freedom of the open road, the sky unbounded. I believed I could remake – or re-envision – my own soul. Perhaps, yet, even with my hands full of firewood and ashes, I still believe I can.
But you can’t get to any… truth by sitting in a field smiling beatifically, avoiding your anger and damage and grief. Your anger and damage and grief are the way to the truth. We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into those rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not to go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in – then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.
–– Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird