The magic of the woods drew us in. Spring was springing up through the ground and I understood for the first time why they call it “spring.” It seems it was just last week that we were surrounded by a sheet of white snow on frozen ground and crackling air that covered us in goose bumps. Now here we were, the sun kissing us gently, the breeze reminding us of things past. Clumps of grass, green as summer, sprouted through the brown earth enticing us with dreams of things to come.
Another year has come and gone, this being the year that I have dreamed of and dreaded for so long. How many times when the children were young did I dream of the freedom that this year would bring? And yet, as that day creeps closer, threatening to open doors that I know not what lies on the other side, I feel that impending freedom like a bad dream rousing me from a sleep that I’ve grown to feel the familiar comfort of.
I’ve seen the women who have gone before me. Their faces hollow and purposeless, their talk still wrapped up in the lives of their children – the children who now know lives of their own. Lives that do not need their mother’s countenance. Yet they desperately seem to be trying to find their purpose there in the past. They approached that door leading to the unknown and set up a tent outside, refusing to go through. And I know what they are feeling. I know the fear of that unknown, and I know the melancholy of leaving something so powerful behind.
Even so, I see the folly of their thinking. I see the loss that they live. And I find myself pulling on my shoes each day, building my muscles and strength to walk through that door, to leave what I need to behind, in order to find what I know must be worth having on the other side. I have been pushed through doors to the unknown, and I have unknowingly jumped through some only to wonder what I had done and even tried to go back. But the years have taught me much, for I have been paying attention. And as my childrens’ fingertips slip from mine, I know that the hand that I must now embrace is my own.