Life’s Ebb and Flow

This song came to mind today. Since we now live in the age of technology, all it took was shouting out, “Alexa, play Looking for Space,” and in no time I had John crooning in the background of my life, as he so often has.

John Denver music takes me back to my teenage bedroom of the 70s, with the cedar siding and record player, where I played his tunes incessantly while dreaming of someday living in the wide open spaces, with their boundless freedom and connection to nature. If you ask what music flows through my veins, it’s this.

You would think at my age I’d be done searching for who I am. Not true. Life ebbs and flows. It breathes a living breath in and out. Knowing and searching. I’ve been many versions of myself. The dependent child. The dreamy teen. (And the angsty teen.) I’ve been the freedom-loving young adult. (Good times!) I’ve been the married, stay-at-home devoted wife and mom. I’ve been the working mom. So many iterations of me. But within all of them is the core girl who loves John Denver, who loves nature and peaceful places, who values being together over just about anything else.

But why this song? My subconscious has been dredging things up from my playlists lately. All of the songs are pertinent to my life right now. It’s like it’s trying to jiggle me awake.

Life is right now at an ebb stage. It could be due to the meanness of the past 4 years. It could be pandemic fatigue. It could be exhaustion dealing with the same dysfunctional cycles and misunderstandings. Or maybe it’s just that it’s just that way. Life is changing and morphing into something I don’t really recognize. I’ve tried to hold on to what’s known, but the elemental effects are taking their toll, eroding what I thought was firm ground. I find myself searching for new footing as the path slowly unfolds before me, wondering where it will take me.

The journey to this point has not been easy. I’ve discovered a lot about life. I’ve found that I am strong. I know who I can and can’t count on to help shoulder the burdens. I have learned that anxiety is a prickly bush, but it can be gingerly moved aside, and the trail on the other side opens up to beautiful vistas. I’ve found people who spread kindness and love. I’ve gone through my share of dark valleys, but the darkness of those valleys makes coming out into the sunshine all the more brilliant. I’ve discovered that radical acceptance makes things bearable.

Will I ever find my way? I don’t know. Probably not. But as long as I remain open and curious, I know I’ll treasure the journey. That being said, if you ever happen to be in the wide open spaces of the west and see an older woman with long hair and hiking boots setting her camera up for the perfect shot, that might just be me.

And you’ll know I have arrived.

Looking for Space
John Denver
On the road of experience
I'm trying to find my own way
Sometimes I wish that I could fly away
When I think that I'm moving
Suddenly things stand still
I'm afraid 'cause I think they always will
And I'm looking for space
And to find out who I am
And I'm looking to know and understand
It's a sweet, sweet dream
Sometimes I'm almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
And sometimes I'm deep in despair
All alone in the universe
Sometimes that's how it seems
I get lost in the sadness and the screams
Then I look in the center
Suddenly everything's clear
I find myself in the sunshine and my dreams
And I'm looking for space
And to find out who I am
And I'm looking to know and understand
It's a sweet, sweet dream
Sometimes I'm almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
And sometimes I'm deep in despair
On the road of experience
Join in the living day
If there's an answer
It's just that it's just that way
When you're looking for space
And to find out who you are
When you're looking to try and reach the stars
It's a sweet, sweet, sweet dream
Sometimes I'm almost there
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
And sometimes I'm deep in despair
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
Like an eagle
I go flying
High
Songwriters: John Denver

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