In the deepest freeze comes the most intense longing. When winter descends on this tiny valley town we call home, for now, it does so swiftly, and it does so with a single-minded purpose that’d be almost enviable, if not so crushing. Most often, it comes first with snowfall, usually months before you’re ready for it, weeks and weeks before you’ve prepared yourself to say farewell to autumn and hello to the darkest season. It dumps white on the brown of everything, blows in on the back of icy winds and icier streets. Everywhere you turn, white, with bits of dead grass and bare branches poking through where they can. An ocean of colorlessness, only occasionally does a wave or splash of color emerge, and if so, only fleetingly. White on white for months at a time, from blizzard to frostbitten treetops, from subzero temperatures to the moonlight that bounces back up from the surface of the earth, diamonds glowing in the pitch.
You know me by now, know the contents of this heart of mine, know my predisposition to truly trying to see the best in all situations, but you also know that sometimes that job becomes a taller order than I’ve the hands to reach. Sometimes, the life I want to be living smashes up against the life I am living and the contrast is too much to handle, sometimes the winter stretches on just a bit too far on both ends, and I am here to say the white is suffocating, the cold crippling, and Helena feels like a giant pot with a giant lid, simmering me in an isolation I don’t know how to comfortably deal with. In short, I miss green, I miss life, I miss the smell of moss and fern, I miss color, I miss warmth, I miss the unbelievable presence of all things growing. It’s this, if asked and pushed for a definitive answer, it is this single shade, this single explosion of emerald, that is the reason I am, and always will be, drawn to the shores of my ancestors. It is the green that calls me home to Ireland, and to Scotland, and strangely, it’s this siren call that has rearranged the entire rest of my life. Well, soon.
A bit of a sneak peek, not that anyone cares to know it, into the future plans that Sarah and I are lucky enough to share is this: In a hair under five years, the majority of our time will be spent living in Scotland. It won’t be all year, I am unclear precisely where in Scotland it will be, though we’re leaning towards Skye, but I do know that we will be in a place rainier than it is sunny, greener than it is white, and I cannot possibly be any more excited than I am.
A friend of mine recently took a wild leap that transformed her own life, hopping across an entire planet to spend six full months on that frozen bit of ice we call Antarctica, and I was, and remain, in awe of the bravery and vision in that move. I think so often we lock ourselves into routines, into landscapes, into cities of our youth, and feel as though we’re incapable of changing our own stars, our own destinies. I think we forget that at any moment, we can take the leaps we always dream of by shy away from, we can fly off in search of green, or in her case, white. Point is, it doesn’t matter what your ‘green’ is, it doesn’t matter if it’s a place, a person, a job, an adventure, or anything else, if it’s pulling the strings of your heart, if it’s realigning your own universe consistently and with a ferocity stronger than passing phase, you absolutely must Listen. What’s more, once you are listening, actually listening and not pretending to like we’ve all gotten so good at doing, you have to trust your gut, and find the mettle to follow through. I say this from a comfortable perspective, looking forward with four years and change between me and the point where dreaming becomes doing, but I say this with every bit of confidence that what I want to happen will happen, I say it with the excitement and planning of a foregone conclusion, not just imagination and hoping. Which leads me to my last bit of unsolicited advice, of which I think this little Signal Fire is going to one day become famous for.
Last bit of advice is straightforward and simple. Here goes: If you have a dream, a ‘green’ that’s been calling you all your life, it’s time you do more than just wish for it. Starting today, take whatever has been shouting your name, and begin actually planning for it. Remember, a dream written down turns into a goal, a goal broken down into little steps is now a plan, throw a little action into that plan, and that dream is now reality, and that’s the last hokey thing I’ll try to ever say to you, but no promises. Point is, we forget as we forage for meaning in the strange white forests of our lives, that we still are the captains of our own souls as Henley so eloquently put it, and we get to decide the life we live, and the way we live it.
Find your green, chase your green, plan for it as though your life depends on it. Time is long but life is short, shouldn’t we fill it with every bit of joy we can possibly muster? What is your green, and what are you doing to reach it? Sound off, I cannot wait to hear your plans.
All I want is green,
explosions of emerald
everywhere I look.
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