The last few sips of hot tea-turned-luke-warm are simply not enough comfort for the stinging rawness of the chapter I just read in Judy Blunt’s book “Breaking Clean.”  Left me both numb and the polar opposite – which is what?  Fine hair-raising hyper sensitive….tingly.  Feelings similar to those at the top of climbing a frozen waterfall – awe and relief at the beauty and luck of being alive, fingers and toes frozen, lungs pumping, cheeks stinging, humbled and triumphant. 

Deep breath….heart stretched…

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“The Year of the Horse” – the hair on my arm stands up when I think of that chapter.  My heart hurts for the porcupine, the wadded up and bloodied pj’s hidden under her bed and that ridiculously white suitcase with pink lining (for me it was the unwelcome gift of a small plasticky white microwave with pink lettering that looked like it belonged in a Barbie Doll house and certainly not in the two-room Main Street apartment without a bathroom where the kitchen was more of a studio than a place to sit and eat).  I didn’t even believe in microwaves – and of course my parents knew that.

I want to brew another cup of tea, top it with a Sunday morning indulgent dollop of Bailey’s, bake some brownies, turn off the cell phone and write.  Not because I’m any good at it – but because Judy Blunt is SO good at it.  I can’t read the next chapter – full-to-overflowing from the last one.  I feel like the lumbering klutzy porcupine – stunned after the first unwarranted blow, curled around my tender belly.  Exposed.  Yet the desire to wield a thick branch like a club and momentarily master my fears by whatever means is woven into the fabric of my being.  Survive.  Thrive.

A friend recommended the book over tea one morning last month.  I went straight to Elk River Books to purchase a used copy.  I haven’t gotten to the chapter she mentioned that morning (about ranch families coming out to light the road so that a young husband could get his pregnant wife through the fog and bog to the doctor).  Since spring I have carved out time to read – finding a familiar part of myself lost in the struggle to survive financially.  My return to reading feeds inspiration and bolsters belief in my purpose.  The idea of “survive” has a clinging and clawing feel to it.  A shift in attitude, a deep breath and “survival” turns simply into “challenge” – something like a frozen waterfall worth the effort and pain of getting my feet off the ground and scaring myself on the journey to the top.  I felt a big shift in so many things last month.  After HATCH, after several encounters with passionate people, after increasing synchronicities; I am aware of support.  A community has come out on a cold blizzard night with headlights and flashlights beaming to help keep me on the path of my calling – to birth the next sculpture series (and the next after that).

I highly recommend the book.