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Hello, everyone --

Spring is here ... which in Minnesota means the landscape remains resolutely gray. Fortunately, the skies are often sunny, and the turkey shows are entertaining (see below)! I hope things are blooming where you are.

I'm going to share with you a game I sometimes play. When I find myself in an unexpected situation or place, I ask, “What if one year ago today someone had told me that by today I needed to (fill in the blank)?”

The blank gets filled in with whatever it is I’m doing or wherever I am at the moment -- a geographic location, an activity or something else.

The feelings that rise up when I set this game in motion are almost always the same. As I imagine myself back to that earlier place, needing to find the path to where I am now, I experience disbelief, anxiety, curiosity, bafflement. 

Of course they don’t last long, because (obviously) I've already achieved the goal.

But this odd little exercise also brings up another feeling: a sense of wonder. 

Here’s today’s game: “What if one year ago today someone had told me that my family needed to get moved from Washington state back to my hometown in Minnesota and, on top of that, my husband needed to get a job with the organization where we first met?”

Yep, here they come, those feelings -- disbelief, anxiety, curiosity and bafflement!

Last March we were totally settled in Washington, where we had been for nearly two decades. We had a home, school, work, church, friends, clubs, dentists and doctors, connections … Why would we, how would we leave? The idea was ridiculous.

And yet, it seems we were led -- almost lifted -- out of Washington and back to my hometown. We've been here six months now, and today is Jon’s last day working remotely at his Vancouver job (of nearly seventeen years). Soon he will begin at the home office of the organization where we first met thirty years ago. And for extra credit, his new office will be located in a converted elementary school. Mine.

And this is where I feel that sense of wonder. I could never have foreseen this or planned this out, but I am thankful to be here. Home.

Part of what creates that sense of wonder is the result, that where we are now seems so right. But it is also knowing that, had I set this goal for myself, it would have been impossible to achieve on my own. The timing, the persuading, the machinations required would all have been beyond my abilities. I can only understand it all in terms of God's timing.

None of this is to say the past year has been smooth for any of us. There has been so much tragedy, so much grief, so much discombobulation on personal, community and global scales.

But I am reminded that even within the ocean of all that, there are islands of grace and wonder. I pray you are finding them too, wherever you are.

Take good care,
Sarah

Turkey time

The turkeys are busy these days — lots of prancing, running laps in the yard, fanning out their feathers and harassing our postal carrier.

Recently, Leo and I encountered this trio talking back and forth with another group across the street. (See video on my blog.)

Parked in between them, in the middle of the street, was a guy in an SUV. When I squinted at him to see what he was up to, he proudly held up his turkey call.

I imagined him arriving late to work, explaining, “I had to visit with the turkeys.”

Life in Minnesota.

On going fallow

It occurred to me this week that if my brain were a landscape, this would be it: Narrow rectangular fields of this and that, vegetables, herbs, fruits and roots, some lush with growth, others not yet planted, still others somewhere in between.

As I shared in a blog post on Wednesday, I'm paring back some of my writing efforts (especially social media) for a bit, to make way for other projects and time for reflection. That is, I'm going fallow.

Well, somewhat ... 

This newsletter will continue, once a month. 

Offerings


I'm excited to announce that I will be teaching my Memoir Moments online class again in April! Join me for prompts and strategies that will help you get some special memories down on paper (or screen).
Also available: one-on-one coaching sessions and Tell Me Your Story, where you or a loved one can share a story via phone or Zoom. (I'll interview you and write it for you.)

For more information and to check out some sample student work and comments, please see my teaching/coaching webpage.


*Any of these can be given as a Mother's Day or Father's Day gift, with a gift certificate.*

 

Today's writing prompt

I was putting away dishes when I noticed that the wire loops on my littlest whisk, the one I use to mix honey into homemade chai, were more rust than silver.

“How can that be?” I thought. “It isn’t that old.” ...

For the rest of this issue's writing prompt, click here to see "New Things."

Haiku based on a real-life event, ca. 1980 at Prexy's Pond.
(I wrote this alongside my students in Haiku With You.)
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Copyright © 2021 Sarah Coomber -- writer, All rights reserved.


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