I was told once about ten years ago that my theme song could be "Don't
Fence Me In." At the time, it did not sit well. I heard the wildness
it implied as more feral than anything else. Alone, skittish,
protective, afraid-- not words I was inclined to accept or adopt as my
own descriptors, despite any timid undercurrent of truth. Gradually,
however, I have come to see the truth in what was more likely meant
when the song was named.
The wildness is still there in me…but instead of chaotic ferality, I
think of sweet woodsy blackberries left to their own devices or roses,
thick with blooms, thorns, perfume, and a direction of their own. The
wildness is a chafing for freedom, the determination to go and see and
touch and write and root where the soil is promising. When I find that
soil, that willing, generous, accepting, plot, I can't help but bloom
and burst forth and flourish for the profound glory and wonder of the
experience. It is a beautiful feeling unlike any other.
I equate this sort of freedom with passion. What I do with that
passion, how I feel it and share it and live it, is what I try to give
back to the soil… or more accurately, to the people, who have accepted
and welcomed me for who I am…who look at the blooms and the thorns and
the fruit and say "beautiful" as I look at the people and say the
same. Such is the harmony of nature, such is the nature of
I had a friend recently write the following: "Yes, let us all move
into that which is fearsome and prove ourselves worth of the hearts
that have been given us." I responded,
"I ask, then, what heart have I been given? My heart wants to leap
and jump and write and work and serve and look and see and touch and
explore and swim and dance and hold so very gently…this is the heart I
have been given by God. An artist's heart, a dreamer's heart, a
writer's heart, a passionate heart who sees God where she looks and
feels the warm memory of her origin when she loves."
This reminds me of the Jessica Powers poem called "The Second Giving,"
in which she writes
God seeks a heart with bold and boundless hunger
that sees itself and earth as paltry stuff;
God loves a soul that casts down all he gave it
and stands and cries that was not enough.
Not wanting to be fenced in now is more of a mantle I have picked up
than a yoke laid upon me. Please, I find my heart saying to my
dearest companions, and also thank you. I offer my berries, my
blooms, my hand and heart and poetry, for you have helped bring them
into being and I have more than I can contain. As well, passionate,
glorious, humble thanks for stepping through bramble and twinings.
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