• Maggie Wheeler

The Return

My Mountain always tells the truth. My Mountain told me recently that The Return had begun.

When the words “The Return” were whispered into my ear as I thought about this next post, the obvious dropped in first: the return of the blog site after wrestling with new costs, the return of the blog itself after a three-month hiatus, the return of the Mountain from under the snow in my backyard. All of these were true.

But the words turned into a feeling running deep and musical like spring water under the ice and snow. Something was happening much greater than tech issues, writing issues or even the onset of green from white outside. I couldn’t shake it. I finally recognized it—and marvelled at its powerful and beautiful familiarity once again throwing open all the windows and doors…even those we thought were nailed shut forever.

We are coming back.

One year after the onslaught of massive change, unforeseen challenge, tremendous loss, we return.

Everyone lost their plans. Many lost their hopes and dreams (for now). Countless scrambled to stabilize or just retain their financial lives. Too many of us lost pieces of our hearts.

But…we are still here. And we are so damn human.

Apparently about 300 years from now an alien being will tell James Kirk that humans are a puny little race known across the universe for their unmatchable will to survive. In the 20th century, anthropologist Ashley Montague wrote that it was not our thumbs or our feet that sealed our survival but our innate ability to reinvent ourselves as necessary.

Seems we are at it again, having been called to action by Mother Nature.

The challenges of the last year have stretched us all. The time has been long and grinding. First impressions are of the losses we live, still now. But two things remain foundational in our awareness: Things do happen for a reason, and usually Mother does know best.

I think back to the frenzy of life pre-pandemic, the sense of hurtling along trying to stay on the surfboard while ignoring the gathering wave behind. To borrow from Wordsworth, the world was too much with us then:

“Getting and spending we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”

Some have posited that the pandemic has served as a course correction for the human race. I would agree but would add that our path forward is not only about what new possibilities lie ahead but even more about what has always been possible:

Potential, resilience, intelligence, inspiration, creativity, community, humanity.

We forgot who we are. Mother Nature reminded us of who we could be.

The restrictions continue, the numbers remain discouraging, and the vaccines roll out too slowly. Life is still precarious, and it seems sometimes that we are seeing little progress.

But there has been progress in us. We are not who we were one year ago. We have lost, stumbled, fallen, stopped dead, dug in. We learned to wait. We waited to learn. We embraced and we let go.

And in the face of all that, we now do what we do best as humanity.

We return.

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