Distilling the Essence

Yesterday marked two years ago that I met the Bohemian. I was walking the beach at sunset and there he was. I could say ‘how could I have known he would become my husband?’ but the truth is, from the moment I saw him, there was something stirred deep within me.

In the months following that fateful day, my heart opened wide, I grappled with fear, I surrendered to Love (with minor, random freak-outs), and when he asked me to marry him, I said ‘Yes.’

Before the Bohemian, I had been living as a single woman, raising Jeb from the age of nine months, essentially on my own, but for the supportive ‘tribe’ of a handful of friends that offered love and presence. For nearly seven years, I was solitary on a small, remote island, only dipping my toes in the pond of romance with a few long-distance relationships.

Mostly, it was me, Jeb, work and school, with sporadic moments of magic. On occasion I would catch a glimpse: Jeb sitting on the porch rail strumming his six-year old hand on ukulele strings. The rare treat of me on a solo morning swim, both the sun and moon in the blue above.

I wanted to capture these moments in a jar and save them. Uncork the bottle and inhale the essence of all-things-love-and-life as a remedy to remember. Keep that panacea close for whenever I was lonely, or exhausted, or simply numbed in the bread aisle of the grocery store.

That year before the Bohemian was a turning point. I had dared to dream that I could find a mate, fostering two remote relationships with promise (one in India, the other Switzerland). In both instances, I broke through scar tissue from the past and poured my heart and soul into nurturing hope in love. And in both cases, when reality stepped in, up close and personal (like dishes in the sink, or a fussy six-year old), they both stepped out.

And thank goodness. Because little did I know, the Bohemian awaited just ahead. But that would be later.

At the time, I took my heartache and my longing for that pure, poignant essence of life and bet it all on bottling it in writing. If I could record my moments, day by day, maybe I’d find some thread of something meaningful. Maybe I would feel more alive. Maybe it would help me remember that that. That something special, which is present even when I’m price comparing sourdough and whole wheat, baguette or sliced.

Despite the doubt that no one cared to hear commentary about my son discovering the existence of coupons, or how I stayed home to study spelling words instead of going out to the hip restaurant with friends, I wrote about it anyway. It was the process of moving through my fear to express myself that was as important as the pieces that were produced.

And all along, I held this understanding that none of it was important, really. Not important like global warming, Syrian refugees, or domination of the world’s food supply by GMO experimenters. Those things mattered.

I only had my little world of bite-size chunks. But I figured that I needed to start with what was before me, before expanding to larger realms. So I worked with what I had. And what I had was Lego guys and a little loneliness. Heartbreak and sorting the junk drawer.

From that place, For the Archives began. That was three years and over 700 posts ago.

Today I work in the distillery. Taking yet another leap of faith that any of this matters (and yet, again, knowing it does not – not, really). I have collected some highlights from that first year of blogging. Made a book and it is currently in process of being published, expected to be available at the end of this month. (In fact, as I type this, the proof for my cover comes through and I’ll admit, I get a little teary when I see it, alive and real and surprisingly beautiful).

And, no, this little collection is not significant. Not like a mission to Mars, not impacting like the work of Joan Didion. But it is mine, and so, in that way, it matters. Just like everyone’s expression matters. And the world needs each of us to express our deepest gift of creativity and truth.

So in my process of sharing the distilled essence of these moments of the everyday, I’m hopeful that each reader may relate to their own mundane and see some magic.

Infuse their own bottle of remembering. Inhale deeply. Share it, too.

photo courtesy of Paul Nelson
photo courtesy of Paul Nelson

8 Comments

    1. Well, I couldn’t be one of those writers that talks about writing a book but doesn’t have it finished yet. Ha! But seriously, I’ve just been keeping this one nice and potent, all to myself, until it was really complete. I laughed last week when you expressed your appreciation for ebooks, because that’s the format of this one. Saving trees…:)

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  1. How delightful! Well done you. So great that many more people get to enjoy your writing. My creative work is within the world of fashion which is frivolous compared to the bigger picture….but it’s very important to me!

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    1. Thank you! I’m glad you can understand. Maybe some of these ‘bigger picture’ issues wouldn’t be so dire if everyone in the world was happily living their passions and had the means with which to creatively express themselves as an integral part of daily life.

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