The story of Ferdinand the bull set a tone for my life early on. I believe it was written in the thirties, the story of a Spanish bull mistakenly taken as a fighter when he was actually a gentle flower sniffer. Fighting happens and can be necessary, but I certainly do not like it. I have every respect for those who like to learn games and sports and those who work hard for trophies (I live with two of them). Still I have always known my place is in the field, and conflicts that arise are incidental and temporary.
I grew up in a small town, a land of big backyards and many trees. A snowy day meant being outside with kids and siblings, but I believe my Mom would usually be inside doing Mom things, keeping the dry mittens and hot chocolate coming when we came in for occasional thaws. I would slide down hills because everyone else was doing it, but I was nervous about crashing in to something or falling off of the sled. As far as snowball fighting, no need to even say that I do not get it. I am not on earth to hurt anyone with snow and no one wins such an activity in my eyes. What I did love was walking around and touching the snow on the pine needles. I could still spend hours stepping on ice coated puddles and watching the ice move and crack. It was early in life when I knew who Thoreau and Emerson and Walt Whitman were. I am not the type of nature lover who loves to kayak and ski but the kind who worships the moon and may want to paint it or write about it.
Since I lost my daughter I have looked for solace at the beach or in the park. I live in a big city away from the New England woods but near enough to nature, though the ground may be littered and the benches graffitied. Susanna talks to me through the birds and pink scraps of litter on my path. On these many days where breathing takes all I have and only an ember of faith keeps me moving, the trees breathe life toward me. The pounding of my footsteps defies the pain which sometimes causes me to say “no” to everything. This, people, is as much fight and competition as I need. The daily battle of the broken hearted. You do not have to do it alone, my angel princess whispers as she leaves a trail here and there of frosted jelly beans. But Walt Whitman cannot travel this path for you, you must travel it for yourself.