What if your gift — something you do well and take pleasure in — destroys what you love? What happens when your skill comes at the expense of your passion? I’m reading the Golden Spruce, a fascinating book about logging in the Pacific Northwest. The protagonist is a skilled outdoorsman, an engineer who can see roads where no one else can. And he’s employed by logging companies to get the heavy logging equipment into the back country of British Columbia to clear cut in areas protected for centuries by their inaccessibility.
All it costs is your soul.
So few jobs allow access to wild places. What would you do to have that access? What concessions would you make?
This story is everywhere. You excel at your work, take on more taxing projects, keep longer hours, see less of your family. You live in your head with your art and create in a fiery explosion and forget that you have to eat and sleep. I climbed high into a tree this week and wondered why I live so close to the city. All it costs is your soul.
File another report. Sit through another meeting. Watch another documentary about the dwindling populations of lions, tigers, bears.
I watched my dog climb onto a stand to stretch in the sunlight and survey the yard while I mowed. Am I the woman I imagined I’d be?
We make concessions daily. To live with other humans. To be kind. We learn to discuss though it would be more expedient to instruct.
These last weeks, I find myself at the mercy of my brain. My thoughts won’t order or march. There’s a terrible hunger in me to be awestruck. And that’s where I get stuck. Here, in the autumn. Anxious for beauty. It won’t last. Nothing lasts. I can’t last.
Am I doing what I’m meant to be doing? Or to put it differently, In what do I believe? A daily question, surely. In what do you believe? I lifted the spectacular branch broken in the storm, and wished again for a hatchet.