Trees and Leaves

It’s certainly fall here in Seattle, with a balmy average of 45 degrees. I keep thinking about my childhood home in North Dakota where snow has been falling, and in a few weeks the snow blowers will be coming out of the garages. Here, there’s just a little bit of drizzle on occasion, usually windless days, and some partial sun by the afternoon (there’s really not as much rain here as people think there is – but it’s our little secret).

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© Amy Holweger 2013

I’ve been thinking lately about my different homes and how they bring out different parts of me. In North Dakota, I was rooted as tree, content to stay put. Certainly I’m an introvert by nature, which can be a powerful thing according to Susan Cain. Back there, in ND, I feel like I was all bundled up in my wings. They were wet, dripping around my little shoulders. I spent a long time feeding my brain, consuming books and enlightened company. Then, clinging to the outside of my chrysalis, I wasn’t sure whether the sun would come out and shine on my wings or if they would just stay crumpled forever. I didn’t think much about my potential outside of my home state, because I figured I would always stay there, that I would never leave the withering leaves of the plant I was born on.

As my dreams for my life grew, I pushed my roots deep into the land. I was pushing towards the sun, spreading my arms. Digging deep for nourishment but never quite finding enough. Yet, I had resigned myself to the state, never thinking of living anywhere but my hometown. My view of life was just too small as a caterpillar living on a leaf. When I had an opportunity to move to Seattle for my job, a city where I’d never been, I took the chance. I didn’t know where this attitude derived from, because I spent a long time leveling out my emotions from an impulsive nature to one where I spent a lot of time thinking about decisions – especially big life-changing ones.

Now in Seattle, I feel like a leaf on the wind (yes, that is a Firefly reference), infected with wanderlust. It’s a tired cliche, but I’m still flabbergasted how one can “uproot”. In a way of course, part of my roots will have been left behind in North Dakota to nourish the soil there. Here in my new pot, I’m growing well with lots of creative fertilizer. At first I tried to resume all my old habits and burrow my feet into the ground, sometimes along with my head. Then I started to look around and realized the incredible and inspiring journey I had become a part of.

I had always been the person who made excuses to never write because I never had any adventures. I never had really taken many trips outside of my home state, and only once outside of the U.S. to Canada (which when you live in northern ND doesn’t count because you’re basically Canadian anyway…eh). Now my camera, notebook and I have a long list of adventures planned. I feel like my wings are finally beginning to dry, and I’m setting off on my own.

Sometimes I have to wonder though – why the sudden change? Everything about my life changed except for me. Then, when I tried to remain the same, I felt stuck. I had to open myself to change. It makes worry that I went too far, and the wanderlust is just another symptom of “not enough” when faced with new circumstances. As I settle in to Seattle, the place I now call home, why do I want to explore? Is it because of the obvious that Washington (and the rest of the planet) is a beautiful and endlessly fascinating place to explore? Is it because of my new lease on life, and now that my outer definitions have shaken loose I am free to finally “be” this potential that was locked up inside of me? Or is it just part of an endless search for something “more” in life in a new form? Am I just falling into another mold of what’s expected of me as an outdoorsy Seattleite?

In cases like these, were I tend to chase my tail, I find it’s best to sit. To radiate the roots of my energy into the earth and spread my leaves to soak in the sun. To pull from my deepest wisdom, and settle like a shaken snow globe to see what exactly lies beneath the swirling particles. My only problem is that I tend to keep picking up the damn snow globe again and giving it a good shake before I see what is at the center.

So, I keep moving forward. I’m FINALLY getting my passport this month…

These are the voyages of a passionate girl, Amy. Her five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

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