I’ve come to understand and accept more things as I get older. Not a lot of things.
Just some things.
These things I understand better than I did a decade ago, and maybe even last week.
And I embrace them fully.
What are some of them?
I’ve come to realize that it’s OK to drive across town to get to where fresh caramel apples are made. It’s also October, and buying caramel apples just might be my new autumn ritual. To succumb to a craving once a year is OK, and I’m not crazy. And if I am, I am. It’s OK that I didn’t make the caramel apples in my kitchen, hunting down fat apples and melting caramel in a heavy pan on my stove. It’s OK that I bought these and did it “the easy way.”
I’ve come to accept that horses really, really fill me to overflowing, and to be in their presence is a gift. And while I no longer own one, to find my way back to them is a good thing, and driving over an hour to bask in their light is something my soul feeds upon. I’ve come to understand that a leather saddle, horse sweat, and summer go hand-in-hand and it’s what makes being in the country so liberating.
I know horses are healers, and when you’re in the middle of open spaces with the Rio Grande not far away, and you see elk, wild horses, and birds against a greying sky, you cannot but think how big God is and how small we really are, and yet we are here and we fit into the picture. We can paint ourselves in and be part of the beautiful country that is ours, and everything, right down to the dragonfly that lands on mesquite, is part of the plan.
These things feed my soul.
I do not hesitate to drive, far into the mountains, and gaze at the pines that disappear into an autumn sky. I embrace the sunshine spilling onto and through me, drinking it in because I might not have the chance to taste liquid sunshine for a very long time.
Sometimes I wonder, is this my last day?
And I have so much to be thankful for.
I embrace the bits and pieces I can find, and they’re all around us.
I’ve decided that the things I write may never get more than a nod, but that’s OK because it feeds my soul and makes me who I am. Writing is kind of like taking bites of fresh oatmeal cookies: it tastes really good. And writing, to me, can sometimes be a Thanksgiving feast. But whatever it is, and wherever it might lead, is good enough as long as I write to feed my soul.
And I’m not being selfish.
Sometimes, my soul is fed through matches. Not lighters, but matches.
Striking the match, the sound and scent take me back to long-ago places. It takes me back to campfires my dad lit, to my grandmother lighting her old kitchen stove, to my uncle feeding his pot-bellied stove.
Maybe a lighter is more convenient, but it’s not better. Not to me.
My soul is fed when I open the black and white newspaper. Hearing it crinkle and sifting through until I find the comics gives my heart a happy nod. Sure, I get most of my news online but it’s not the same. I like hearing crinkles.
There are lots of things that feed my soul.
I didn’t always realize it.
I’ve come to understand that it’s OK to make candles from scratch and to use them instead of saving them, which, in my opinion, probably would never get used.
And although I didn’t expand on it, a soul needs Love, maybe most of all.
But love, like horses in the wilderness and pine trees in the mountains, is stitched into us in many ways.
If you haven’t thought about what your soul needs…if you feel like something is missing and you don’t know what it is…get quiet for a few moments and listen.
If you listen to your heart, your soul will tell you what it needs.
Don’t put off what your heart tells you too much longer because someday will be your last day and it will be too late.
While I can, and even as difficult as it can sometimes be, I’m going to seek out the things my soul needs.
God indeed has made a world of beauty, and we are part of it, as much as we chose to be.
I’ve come to understand that it’s OK to be who we are and like what we like, between the beginning and end of our journey.
Strike your match, eat that special something, and go on your journey: Whatever that journey is to you, just go.
Go feed your soul.