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Johnston, Iowa (FOUNDATION)

Before I could go anywhere, I had to go home.

Distraction swallows self-knowing;

recognizing that I need not go anywhere in order to explore my own identity and to unleash my adventurous spirt was my very first lesson to learn.

In the first 3 years of moving to a home surrounded by acres of land & beauty, personal goals surfaced:

  • Go, every chance possible, out into the trees and toward the clearing at the water's edge.

  • Understand the woods like the back-of-hand.

  • Find instinct on the trails, both in light & in darkness.

  • Observe weather patterns: how they form and how they move.

  • Know when to keep going and when to turn back.

That is exactly what I did; I executed three years of no hesitation. Every time my heart was called out the side door, down the road and onto the various outputs of trails, I went. Headphones in, headphones out, 20 minutes some days, 6 hours another. I bought a pocket knife and strong clothing. I bought expensive flashlights and headlamps. I shed any need to look good or right. Every day, I walked off historical expectations of myself, turning my devotion to a search for anything left undiscovered.

Within every step, I shed pounds of emotional and intellectual weight that I hadn't even realized had crept up around my core and clogged the space around my heart. I skipped, ran and sang as many times as I fell to my knees and sobbed. I wrote pages upon pages of insights that I had resisted writing before and built dreams and ideas that I brought to fruition, without anyone understanding how I got there.

I did it all until I was certain that my soul existed in those woods,

just like the trees, the animals, the streams...

and the bridges.

In just over 1,000 days of exploration, I found seven ~

all unique in design,

and each one making it more possible for me to cross ravines, avoid falls, hike further and travel into new territory.

I found one and then I found two. Once I found two, I had to believe there were three. And once there were three, I knew there had to be more. So, I kept looking, eventually counting 4, 5, 6 and 7.

In loosely marked trails, these bridges became signposts. Every time I went out, I found them more easily, more quickly, more efficiently; I felt more nimble and fluid in my explorations. I spent time reading books on them, sitting in silence on them, feeling how my footsteps felt on each of them. I cared about them and the presence they had brought to my journey. In fact, I cared about them so much that between January 12-14, 2022, just as an exhale repays an inhale's influence, I showed them my gratitude.

Several weeks prior to January 12, I noticed a gap, a plank missing from one of the seven bridges. In full light and with nothing covering the pathway, one could likely navigate the opening without sending an ankle or foot through or wavering into harm. However, given darkness, leaves or snow, the danger would be unforseen and unable to anticipate. I knew this was something I wanted to fix, not just for my own protection, but for others who would choose to travel this journey.

On the evening of January 12, snow (a significant amount at that) was predicted within the upcoming 24 hours. Having spent time getting to know January weather in Iowa, I immediately made a decision to fix the gap in the bridge before this particular snowfall could get too heavy.

Around 9pm, per my passionate request, my patient husband came out to the garage to help me find a piece of wood that I believed would be the exact right size to repair the bridge. I had, after all, measured the length of the missing board space with my footsteps & its depth with my handspan.

My husband didn't try to prevent me from going, even though it was dark & late. He didn't prevent me from my passion to execute a vision. Rather, he was just there; handed over the drill and likely rolled his eyes only when he was sure I wouldn't notice. He let me go and let me be.

My first attempt on the night of January 12, 2022:

  • I carried that piece of wood right under my arm, down the road and onto the trails.

  • I found my way to the second bridge, knowing the 3rd bridge was the one in need of repair

  • I got scared in the dark on my way & knew I was losing my sense of direction. Having learned how to choose intuition over ego in the past three years, I turned back, laid the piece of wood back down against the side railing of bridge 2 and hiked back to the house.

January 13, 2022:

  • The snow was holding off and I had to go to work. The bridge waited.

January 14, 2022:

  • The snow began to fall gently around noon ~ more fog and flurried-whispers than anything stick-worthy, but I knew it was coming. I left work the moment the clock struck end-of-day. I remember driving home with such excitement, with such eagerness to complete something I had began; the feeling of being in a dance with the weather's shot-clock was so invigorating.

  • I arrived home. I grabbed the drill. I headed down into the trail and stopped long enough to note the snow's picked-up pace. I made my way to that second bridge, grabbed the plank I had left and kept moving forward. I laid that piece of wood down and drilled in the screws tight. Bridge 3 was now safe and, quite frankly, nothing had ever felt quite so good.

I threw snowballs and did snow angels and couldn't stop laughing out loud at myself, considering how silly the whole expedition had been.

But, it mattered to me. It was pure strength and amazing joy; strength and joy I had discovered and landed all on my own.

It had taken over three years to find what I was looking for. Me. My home. My FOUNDATION.

Once I found that, I knew I could and would go anywhere. I had bridged the gap between my reality and my existence.

You can't make up your life. Once it happens, it's done.



"You are a gift"

I am so glad you are here and I hope these words have found you at the right moment.  Your time, energy & presence is noticed and appreciated.  

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