I walked beside the pond and marveled at how the naked trees gazed at their reflection in the water’s glass, searching for the spot where I could sit still with my thirty-year-old thoughts. For a moment, I couldn’t tell the difference between the cold, hazel water and the bitter, gray sky. They were one in the same until my foot kicked a branch that clutched the green moss on the water’s edge sending ripples to touch the tops of the trees. After watching the watery glass shatter, I found my spot there on the mini, mossy peninsula.
Breathing the fresh, cold air deep into my lungs and exhaling warmth, I opened my eyes a little wider to see and understand my own reflection -- to make sense of the 30-year-old woman sitting on the bank and her journey through 2017. I fell in love, made numerous mistakes, forgave myself, acknowledged my white privilege, cared for broken hearts, shared my heart, was kind and unkind. For the first time in my life, I saw the garrish beauty of humanity as it stood naked like the trees that shivered and leaned into the wind.
My thoughts moved like the ripples in the pond. I asked myself numerous questions. How can I still be vulnerable but protect myself? How can I love better? Who makes up my core and how can I focus on them in 2018? What adventures will I take? What do you do when you show your humanity and it embarrasses you? What stories can I tell this year? The answers didn’t reveal themselves immediately -- they never do -- but one thing was apparent. Just like I was embracing the humble comeliness of the winter trees, I needed to love and embrace my own humanity, mistakes and all. “Keep doing exactly what you’re doing,” I whispered to myself. “Growing, seeking and loving.”