A Part Of It, Not Apart From It

At the risk of sounding like a stoner or a total burnout, allow me to say this:

It’s all connected, man.

This weekend I went on a road trip to the Methow Valley in Washington state. If you follow me on Twitter, you no doubt saw some of the photos, so I’ll spare you a lengthy recap. But what I want to talk about are those moments when I — finally — felt a part of something bigger, not apart from the rest of humanity.

  • There was the moment in the bar when I played “Freebird” on the jukebox and the people in the bar made appreciative noises;
  • When a complete stranger bought a round of drinks for a small group of somewhat rowdy Canadian librarians who were in town for a girls’ weekend;
  • When I helped that same stranger find the ingredients for a drink called an Irish Letter Bomb (and it was as gross as it sounds, but to each his own);
  • During a chilly walk across a pedestrian bridge in the black of night under a canopy of stars so bright it made my heart swell and eyes water, and also caused me to break into spontaneous verse from this song;
  • Walking alone on a packed-snow trail surrounded by scrubby pines, and feeling how pregnant with life the world was as the wind played restlessly yet lovingly with the pine boughs;
  • Hiking to the top of a small ridge all by myself after I was convinced my body could go no further, and receiving the gift that is a mountain ridge that is huddled lovingly against a big blue sky

I was awed and humbled. I felt insignificant in the vast scheme of things, but deeply important to the friends I took the trip with. I had moments of perfect solitude where I never once felt alone, or misunderstood, and I never once felt like I didn’t have a right to these experiences, this life, or these friends.

I don’t want to couch this in treacly new-age sentiment, but I felt present in a way that I haven’t in many, many years, and every time I felt it, I gave silent thanks to the world I live in and the life I’ve chosen.

Finding yourself supported and welcomed by community is a blessing far beyond anything I could ever find in a house of worship.

Thank you, universe, for reminding me of my place within you.

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