Life Musings

A season of stillness

A woman wearing leopard ballet flats and a canvas bag slung across her shoulder pauses outside the window to light a cigarette before moving on. For once, I am not the one moving, or smoking. My lungs are absent of tobacco smoke and dust- the kind that collected in my nose hairs and tinted my glistening face a reddish brown, adhering to my body like a poor disguise for my obruni skin.
Tan lines and tattoos, Ghana 2014

I am no longer moving or smoking, but I am still running. In place. In circles. Up and down hills. In the rain, in the heat, through big empty fields against blue open skies and back again. I have run hundreds of miles by now, and yet they keep bringing me home, back to the place where it all begins.
Training for the Chicago marathon, 2016

That’s where I am now, still trying to catch up to my own changing reflection, sinking into a new contentment and pushing against that gravity with a little bit of fear and a little bit of fierce and a lot of patched up heart.

      What happened to bring me back home and why it happened is starting to matter less and less. Just like I was promised, the landing has been soft. And I fell flat on my face. Hard. No easy way to shake it off and act like nothing happened. No way to make a quick recovery. No way to let anyone else take responsibility. Just a whole lot of pain and humility. And then Divine Grace scooping me up and holding me there. In the loving arms of my family. In the supportive understanding of my friends. In the patient unfolding of time marching forward even when I didn’t want to. 
Spending time with Faith is one of the best parts of being home. Grain Valley, MO 2016

       Earlier this summer, one of my favorite authors explained her silence by reminding us that there are stories we tell, and stories we live. In my heart, I have wanted this season to be nothing more than a blank space between chapters. I wanted to believe it was the pause in the action, the brief moment where the reader gets up and puts on a pot of tea before resuming the love story with eagerness as she settles back under her favorite blanket.

I haven’t wanted to put words to this season because it would mean more than an intermission, it would mean the beginning of a new story and the ending of another. I haven’t been ready for this. I haven’t wanted to be ready, not even a little bit. I’m still not.

As much as I want to pretend that I am merely resting until the story I thought I wanted continues to unfold, something more is starting to shift. There has been a blossoming and becoming that refuses to be tacked onto the old story. This terrifies me.

There are words I don’t know how to write demanding to take up space on a new page without an outline or script. There’s a radiance and vibrancy reflecting back in the mirror that I still can’t believe belongs to me. There’s a strength and willingness to surrender I didn’t know I was capable of, guiding me towards more peace than I thought was possible.
My very serious (not serious at all) writing glasses, 2016

While I sense a subtle change in the afternoon light, I look out the window and notice geese are flying in a cloudless pale sky. Outside the grass is starting to turn yellow and orange, reminding me of the color of September. The temperature is cooler, the days shorter.

Watching the geese begin their flight south for the winter, Lawerence KS, 2016

Summer is coming to an end and with it my season of stillness. I know there are things on the way that I cannot yet name. I also know better than to try. The best I can do is offer my gratitude. The best I can do is summon all of my bravery, become a blank page and wait for the words to come.

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  • Reply Maria April 19, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Such beautiful words, Mariah. It was just raining and I was drinking my cup of coffee as I was finding comfort within the wonderful words of your post. Thank you for rejuvenating me with your lovely thoughts.
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    • Reply Mariah April 23, 2017 at 11:07 am

      Thank you so much Maria for those kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Warm wishes and gratitude for sharing a moment of stillness together 🙂

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