Sunday, February 13, 2011

Climbing the Great Main-Mast

"There was the huge tree asleep yet in the paling moonlight, and small  and hopeful Slyvia began with utmost bravery to mount to the top of it, with tingling, eager blood coursing the channels of her whole frame, with her bare feet and fingers, that pinched and held like bird's claws to the monstrous ladder reaching up, up, almost to the sky itself."
           ---- Sarah Orne Jewett     

This excerpt from A White Heron is my favorite metaphor for living an adventurous life, for taking risks, for attempting the impossible.  It describes how I felt while finishing college with a newborn baby.

Yet while I made it to the top, after graduation, I was faced with a void.

What to do with the new knowlege?   Where to go?

In the story, Sylvy discovers the heron's nest and climbs down.  She returns to the humble little house and keeps her discovery silent.

It is a beautiful moment. 

The child Sylvy is empowered and matures through the act of protecting the rare white heron from destructive scientific study. 

The tree that Sylvia climbs is "like a great main-mast to the voyaging earth."   There is an epiphany in the story when Sylvia believes she can climb to the top.  It happens in the middle of the night.  It is a thought that keeps her awake, too excited to sleep.

Did you ever have a moment, a turning point in your life...a moment when you believed you could do something that seemed impossible before?

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