Six months later. The light is perfectly balanced between dusk and dawn, picking up speed in its ineluctable swing to the ever-day summers of the north. Another eternal winter is in retreat.

Three years ago, I named the blog Entelechy. I could not know that the time from then to now would bring such an assault of upending change after change after change. From Alaska to Utah, then Texas and Pennsylvania in quick succession. I jumped from four-square and dodge ball with FAS kids in coastal Alaska to backpacking with young adults in intensive wilderness therapy in desert canyons to nannying in a suburban home on the concrete-and-asphalt wilderness that is the eastern states, all in a manner of months. Then engagement, a wedding, starting graduate school and a month long trip back to Alaska. Already sprinting away from the Evangelical milieu as fast as I could, I dove briefly into Eastern Orthodoxy before moving into the vast, trackless expanse of an agnosticism. I have wanted to write more of the turmoil and of the hilarity such relentless change brings, of other things that have passed through these two years. Especially this last year, these last six months.

But silence has won out, and I have needed it. This equinox, I should not be so startled to find myself tumbling down yet another path. There is less ambivalence now, but still no sure steps. Gravity takes over, and you close your eyes and fall, sometimes. You hope the landing isn't too rough.

I am no longer in graduate school. I spend my days shoveling dog and horse shit part-time at a ranch and kennel outside of town. I drive tours on the ice-road that is the winter Dalton for Japanese seeking the elusive aurora. On a handful of days, I sleep at the rural fire station that serves our area, stumbling through my first calls as an EMT. If I am lucky, I am called on to help a friend run her seventeen sled dogs over the trails around our cabins. These things make me happy in a way that I had almost forgotten about on the stiff-shod, paper-strewn trail towards a certification to teach in public schools. I have not looked back once without a rush of relief.

When I started nannying my nephews, I was a strong believer in the strength of the nurturing side of the development equation. Watching three-month-old fraternal twins elbow their identically nurtured little selves into vastly different little boys blew my presumptions out of the water.

I'm still not sure how to grab a hold of that inborn thing that so shapes how we make it through the world, but I am getting an idea of what a powerful and inevitable force it is. If entelechy plays into how I stumble across these first years of independence, of marriage, of work and play and rest, I still have precious little idea of how it is pushing and shaping these things. But the journey is getting pretty interesting.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mary! Love the George MacDonald quote.. that and the pic of the sun make me think of that scene where Mossy sees the setting sun through the trees. Forgot that you were going to be an EMT. Sounds like you're having a blast. -Henry

daniel buchanan said...

thanks for the recap on your life. it's stuff i already knew, but somehow it sounds quite amazing when you say it all at once like that!
and what a beautiful picture, too!

kjr said...

knowing well the need for silence, but so glad i get to read your words again for now.

ahhh... "that inborn thing" you speak of (whatever it may be)... i'm trying desperately to grab a hold of it right now too, but then i think that sometimes my desperate attempts to grasp it might actually be a problem...

maria said...

Henry - I am, we are. Thanks for stopping by.

Dan - Of course you know everything that goes on! Sometimes before we do!

Kara - I wonder if trying to hold it, rather than let it flow and push us, is part of the problem. There is such a fine line between self-reflection and navel gazing.