With February comes the morning sunlight. (Choirs of angels sing.) Bright shards of light fall across my desk and spill into the tiled hearth. Another winter, come and nearly gone. We did it. Already, nearly time to plant again.

I can hardly believe this, but the next lilac blossoming will have us two years living in our yurt.

Two years. 

The newborn I carried here in my arms is gone, replaced with a little imp who likes to unload the spice rack. I look at her…and wonder if I have aged as much as she has.

Okay, so sue me. I’m in a nostalgic mood. I spent several hours last night sorting and tagging old posts. You wouldn’t think it would take so long, except each thing is a huge file. Each thing that I have made is a thing, with weight and traction. I birthed these nuggets into the world, and there they live.

I tried to shed a few. I put my past on a diet. Thoreau wrote of the tragedy of townsfolk who carried their belongings on a wagon. He said they carried their own prisons on their backs. I have shed attachments as I have gone my way, and my blog is no exception. I don’t blog to store up my treasures; I blog to spend them. It’s a bit of a shock to realize how steadfastly things hang around.

But so much more a shock to see how clearly I drew the trajectory of these two years: the recklessness with which I launched myself into thin air. Spend hopes and dreams, reap chaos. I had no more power to tell the future than a toad.

Most of the things I thought I would have by now, a half-acre of grain, a dairy animal, a root cellar, a published book…I just don’t.

This is what age is made of. Promises unkept, dreams frustrated. Two years…emptied like cups. When you set out on the wild and beautiful path, only to find out years later that you missed your turn, spent the decades instead washing dishes, rubbing towels over surfaces worn thin as your own gray-tinging skin.

What did I set out for? Oh, yes. To live this life alive. And what is the engine of that? Faith, hope, and innocence: the engines of the world.

It’s garden planning time again. My first year I over-planned to a comic tune. I would have had a full acre in production, with no water and no soil. Throwing seeds to wind. My second year, I played the cynic and didn’t plant anything at all. This week with my colored markers and my sheets of newsprint, I met both shadows of my self: one warning and one encouraging. But which is the angel? And which the dark?

I knew some things two years ago that I don’t know now. I’m afraid I have to make the circle back to learn them. I want to know, again, the value of not knowing what comes next. The recklessness of spending one’s trust freely, not hinged or bound to what will or won’t come in return. The insanity of hope.

I want to reject the scar tissue built up around wounds, losses, feelings of failure. I want to peel down again to simple faith…courage. Maybe even the willingness to work.

Which are the prisons the townspeople carried on their wagons? Furniture? Really? Or, worse, the crippling weight of regret? Fear? Carefulness?

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has power and magic in it.” –Goethe

May we be always beginning. Always carrying hope, like houses, on our backs. Forever young.