It’s been a crazy couple of weeks in my world… this time of year in the Black Hills of South Dakota often is… especially for a motorcycle lover. I got to do several book signings throughout the event, met some incredible people, made some new contacts… all in all it was great. And there were some profound moments.
So, I’m taking another short departure from my Vancouver series to tell you about them.
On the second day of my book signing, there was an accident just up the hill. When the authorities stopped traffic we knew it was serious. When we first heard the blades of the chopper whipping through the air above us, we knew it was really serious. And I felt… something. Something big, something profound. If you know my story, you – like I – probably know why. The crazy thing was that I didn’t know what. I could not define the feeling. I also could not stop watching. As the pilot navigated the helicopter to the surface of the asphalt, the bartender came over and put her arms around me, whispering in my ear, “Flashbacks?” I lost it. There in the arms of a relative stranger, in a parking lot packed with bikers, behind a table of my books and in front of several brand new fans, I sobbed.
Two hours later I was offered a feature in a biker magazine and the possibility of work writing for them.
The next day during the third signing, the incredible man with whom I’d been riding when my life was profoundly changed, stopped by for a chat. It was the first time I’d spoken to him. In nearly 12 years. Just a week before the date he dubbed our “anniversary”.
Two hours after that I sat down for a glass of wine and took some long breaths. I ran around in my mind about what all of this might mean, if there was a message. I settled on “closure”.
When I got home there was a branch down – nearly perpendicular – across my driveway. The only branch down on my street, a street that happens to be FULL of trees. And in the absence of a significant wind.
I still don’t know what it all means. And I’ve spent some serious time trying to hear my soul self to figure it out. I feel sure the Universe is telling me something, or preparing me for something, or… something. And I have no idea what it is.
But last night, when I came home after another storm, in a long line of intense weather patterns this summer, I opened the back door to let my dog out and was struck by the sight of the devastation at my feet. I had been in a lunch meeting when the storm struck and I had been aware there was a little bit of little hail… maybe a little wind with the rain… but this was evidence of a much more powerful storm than I had witnessed. Hours after the storm had passed.
I stood with the door open as wide as my mouth for a long moment. And then I heard myself mumble “It’s beautiful.” I looked closer and was moved by the particular mix of colors and textures, the implication of the coming intersection of seasons, the dichotomy of the fresh green growth and the aging cones about to spread their seed… I don’t know if it was the inherent peace that follows when the sun first shines and the birds begin to sing after a storm, or the immense beauty of the destruction I observed strewn across the concrete – but suddenly understanding didn’t matter. I didn’t need to know ‘what’. Or even ‘why’.
Sometimes life is crazy. And messy. And beautiful. Even in moments of destruction. It doesn’t mean the recovery and new growth will be easy or come quickly. But it will come. And so will the peace. Often in the wake of the storm.