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There is no striving when you spend time at the shore — the tide pours in, the tide pulls out.  There is a call, a cry in the air, a sense of freedom, a deep sense of ease. 

It fell out of the bowl and fluttered down to the floor.  It happened twice as Donna reached in to grab from the pile of teeny cards that sit in a crystal dish on a table in Joy Center’s front hallway.  It has become a ritual to draw an angel card as we say our good-byes after a session of yoga, a card that contains one word and a picture of an angel in action.  The word that didn’t want to stay put this past Tuesday, the word that kept flying off on its own angel wings, was “release.”  Release.  I think it was for me, this message of release.  Tonight, as the wind howls and the temperature plummets and the ice that is already sticking to the sidewalks and roads thickens, I’m looking forward to an inner thaw.  It’s the evening of my book release party.  And what is it that I’m going to release this evening?  Well, there’s the book.  I’m going to release my tight hold on it.  It’s over — all those months of carefully laying out the pieces, the writings and photographs, my mother’s sketches and watercolors, all those months of mindfully choosing the words that breathe life into my thoughts and memories.  And I love the book.  I do.  It’s beautiful.  It’s pleasing to the eye.  I love the color and the art and the way the pages lay flat when you open them up.  I love the feel of it, too.  I love its smoothness and its shape.  And there’s something else.  I love the way that somehow it contains it all for me.  My beginnings.  I know that you can’t put a whole childhood into a two-hundred page book, especially into a book that is also a forward-focused story.  And I know that you can’t pour all the love that you feel for a place and its people, your people, into the pages of a project.  I know this.  And yet, there’s something I’m trying to say here, something I’m trying to understand, something having to do with the word “release.”  Perhaps it is because the seeds for this book began long before I played with layout, long before I gathered my mother’s recipes and wrote the forward-focused story, perhaps it is because I’ve been tending and honing these stories of my roots for my whole adult life, perhaps it is because I’ve been doing the weeding, the cultivating, the reaping, perhaps it is because of all this sweet labor, years of sweet labor, that the release feels ripe and ready.  And what’s after the release?  I’m not sure.  But I suspect that the ground I stand on will feel even more stable and the ocean of creativity that I swim in will swell with treasures beyond my wildest imaginings.

Mom and I in the red boat: Spring Beach, Maine August 1956

Mom and I in the red boat:
Spring Beach, Maine August 1956

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