Choking banks of Kudzu twist long fingers around transient voltage suppressor diode power poles and wires. Heat rises in waves off the pavement, and the ever-present green wraps the land in a fierce benediction.
Pale green fields of tobacco checker the landscape, alongside the deep green of soy beans and corn. The smell of cut grass mixes with the rich earth musk. Glossy-leaved Magnolia trees with their heavy branches, sweep the ground, like grand ladies in ball gowns… and old oaks, pecans, and maples line the fields, and grace the yards of ramble-down farmhouses.
Everywhere gangly pines with their high tufts of needled branches, reach for the sky. Rusty, tin-roofed tobacco barns camouflage themselves with an overgrowth of vines. Little brick houses display crepe myrtles splashing pink across their manicured lawns, where statuary adorns their yards like silent children.
This is the landscape that embraces me as we ride the motorcycle along the back country highways outside Zebulon, NC.
My partner, Jeff, is my dearest friend, and knows me well enough to encourage me to get out of the house when I’m processing; so he suggests the bike ride. We skip breakfast and head out early, to beat the 105 degree heat index of the day.
A tank top beneath my mesh jacket, lets the wind wash over me… blowing away the lingering cobwebs. Beyond the roar of motor and wind, a deep silence invites me in. Being passenger means that I can lean against the back rest without distractions, and soak up the ride… so I sink into that silence.
As I take in the landscape, allowing my thoughts to unravel with the miles, a recurring fear that I’ve been skirting, rises up to face me, like a thin shadow in the morning sun… a gift from my subconscious.
“As I sell the farm, re-imagine my life… as I let go of what I’ve known, and embrace what’s around the bend, that I can’t yet fully see… will there be Life there for me?”
This past season has been so alive… so full, so varied, so precious… as I let it go, will I find Life there to greet me? Or have I used up my allotment?
I feel the clutch in my stomach, as old fears of ‘not enough’ stir within. I sit with the fears ~ these old companions of mine, as we wind along the solitary road… letting them roll through me. Not resisting, not clinging to them.
Every landscape has its message, and they are not all the same… but this morning, I find myself in this landscape – with its riot of growth, crowding and clambering, and filling in every possible space.
At last the fears soften… my heart opens to the message of this morning’s ride, and I shake my head in wonder.
Life is all around me. It’s everywhere.
The countryside is parading this before me in an exuberant redundancy.
The question is not, “Is there Life there for me?”, but rather, “How will I choose to express the Life that’s bursting through me ~ there to greet me, each and every moment?”
I feel the dance of creation pull me up and spin me around, following the music that’s woven through the branches of the trees, the blades of grass, and the scattered white clouds overhead.
What is it that I most deeply desire my life to be about?
What feelings do I want to flow through it?
What gifts do I want to give?
What space do I want to hold for those who share it with me?
There is beauty in the overgrown vines… there is beauty in the tilled fields… there is beauty in the quiet farmhouses with their beds of flowers… and there is beauty in the wildness of the forests.
I hear an invitation… and permission to listen within, to welcome the unique beauty that wants to shine through my life!
And so I listen… beyond the throb of the engine… beyond the wind… beyond the heat that wraps us up in its arms… beyond the smell of the fertile earth… beyond the color and shape of the landscape ~ for the beauty and the Life that is already mine.
Knowing that yes, there will be fears… sadness… and grieving. That is part of the ride. I can embrace them, plumb their depths for the treasures they hold, and draw out those treasures as part of my offering.
I breathe in the hot summer air.
Another marker along the road.
Another signpost that I’m following my path.
In this moment, I revel in the peace… welcoming the open road before me, with the tingle of hope, that I’m traveling home.