Nine months ago I began working from home, my office window looking out onto my front yard. I would wake before 7, make some coffee, and watch the January sun rise over and through the naked maple in our front yard. My soul would smile because it was 7 and I wasn’t yelling at the little ones to get in the car, hurry, hurry, hurry so I could drop them off at school and daycare and be at work by 7:30. I am grateful for the work I have had, for the money which supported my family. So many get by on so much less. The honor of educating our youth is not lost on me.

But nine months ago, I began breathing again in a way I recognized, slow and deliberate instead of quick and without thought. And I sipped my delicious, wonderfully sweet and creamy coffee, enjoying every morsel. And then breathed some more, watching the pinks and purples fade to yellow as the sun slowly brought on the day. And watched my children wake up, not from my voice but because their bodies were done with sleep for the night.

I decided then I wanted to become a modern Thoreau, to go to the woods, per se, by watching the sun rise and ,

“…to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I wanted to watch the maple change through its seasons, wanted to observe the sun move across the horizon on its monthly journey towards spring and then summer, and then watch its reverse ebb back during fall and winter, I wanted to experience a first snowfall through the eyes of my children, to feed the birds of winter and record each species, to watch the burst of color in Spring, to smell the sweetness of peonies and the taste the juicy red of homegrown tomatoes. And now, here in the fall, to hear the crunch of leaves underfoot and smell the wonderful aroma of them burning. To be close to nature again, to watch her seasonal changes, to listen to her quiet calls, and to be a participant in it all, for me, is to live.

I record these thoughts as steps towards finding my truths, of expressing what others may also feel, and to recognize that life isn’t always about the result. To have lived, for me, is to relish the quiet, peaceful moments of the journey.