My husband and I sit among the tall oak trees under a bright full moon. The campfire crackles in the crisp, cool air of late October. Fading fall leaves rustle as a light breeze blows. Shadows cast by the firelight dance all around us.
I stare into the flames, mesmerized, relaxing in my chair. We toast S’mores and drink red wine and forget about the world for awhile. Watching the flames leap, feeling the warmth on my hands and face, I am rebuilt from the inside out; my heart expands with hope. The woods becomes a fairyland and the starry night a refuge. I breathe deep the scent of sweet earth and crumbling leaves, privileged to sit under the stars, watched over by trees that have seen decades, and maybe even centuries, come and go. It’s a balm to my weary heart in these uncertain days, in a world turned on its head.
I know that things I took for granted in my daily life just a few months ago have changed irrevocably. An uncertain future lies ahead. I can’t escape these truths anymore than the next person, although it’s not lost on me that I also have many opportunities and advantages that some do not. Yet, despite the weariness from everything that has happened over the course of this past year, there is still so much to be thankful for.
That evening by the campfire was only a few weeks ago, but it feels like it was both just yesterday and also years ago. What is it about escaping into the woods that takes us outside of ordinary time? Then again, away from our worries and cares, does it really matter what “it” is?
We don’t know what each day will bring. We don’t know what the world will be like tomorrow much less next year. But we can know this: In this moment, we are here, and all we really have are moments. So, may your moments be filled with love, not fear. With hope, not despair. May you remember that every day you always have a choice in how you live your life and you are stronger and more powerful than you may know.