Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Leap of Faith

Becoming a ranger was something that I dreamt of since childhood. As an adult, I would tell people that it was what I envisioned for myself eventually. The line kept coming out of my mouth, even after I stopped believing it. I had been applying for park jobs for nearly five years and nothing ever came of it. Nothing. No call. No interview. Ever.

And then a call did come.
Unexpectedly and with poor timing.
But I went. And here's what I'm proud of;

* Buying a new (used) car after crashing into a deer.
* Creating two of my own park programs.
* Helping to run the astronomy program.
* Learning the science of the caves, ancient trees, and night skies.
* Receiving an absurd amount of comment cards, being gifted Japanese treats with a touching note, and being invited to Austria for a glass of wine.
* Hiking every trail in the park.
* Finding one small flower (still in bloom) that exists on only one mountain in the world.
* Killing all the mice that got into the house. Every. Single. One.
* Making great friends.
* Creating art that I love.
* Translating the park brochure into Japanese.
* Having my video of a silver-haired bat posted on the park's Facebook page.
* Taking care of a ranch.
* Learning to take a risk and trust that I would land on my feet.

Before I decided to go, I was terrified. I had resolved to work for money, and I was content enough. I had a good office, good benefits, good co-workers. Starting as a temp employee, I worked my way up to get hired on full-time and had just received my first ever promotion.

Walking away from what I had made for myself to take a seasonal position seemed like insanity.

Now I can see clearly that it was the only decision that made any sense. Life is short.


(I wrote only one journal entry at the park, and have decided to share it...)


Well I'm here. And here I've been.
I'll while away by these trees a little longer then be gone.
I haven't written because I've been wrapped up in magic thread.

The pungent sage echoes through the mist hanging low; the clouds funneling themselves to the earth across endless miles of sky. It's so quiet.

A deer stops in its tracks and looks dead into my eyes. 
I am what is waking in you, she says.
Y   e   s   ,
I answer
Soon she is bolting into a thicket of dusky amber, where I wish I could follow and my spirit would drink in the stillness until it was quenched. 

In this modern world I am always thirsty. 
But we all must get along, mustn't we?

The ground stirs; it too is awake.
From my feet, to my knees, to the chakras in my temples. I can feel them near.
Hooves of wild horses are drumming across the valley. My heart answers.

...I'm here, I'm here, I'm here...
..........Pa-rum, pa-rum, pa-rum..........

Racing across canvas after canvas of jagged rock, their nostrils flare and sweat streaks across their coats. Manes shake and earth breaks under their thunder. I close my eyes.

I feel the heartbeat in the ground.
I'm here. I'm here.

..........Pa-rum, pa-rum, pa-rum..........

It rolls louder,  l o u d e r ,   l  o  u  d  e  r  .

Then it slowly f   a    d      e        s,
and all is still once more.

And soon I'll be gone, 
and we all will fade.
And I wish only for this wonderful stillness.