I didn’t open my eyes, just listened. The rushing sound of the river mingled with the quaking of aspen leaves, one of my all-time favorite sounds, one I have relished since earliest childhood and my first memories of being in this high mountain valley where my great-grandfather built a ranch to pasture his sheep. My grandmother spent her summers here, listening to this same symphony, as did my father. I grew up in L.A. and fell asleep to the beat of the surf but came every summer to play in the willows and wade in the icy river.
Now there is a pandemic, and my daughter, granddaughter, and I slipped away for a couple of days of renewal in the mountains after months of quarantine. Since both our families have a high-risk member, we are still keeping strict social distancing; I’m sleeping in my tent and they are across the field in theirs. News of protests, rage, fear, and frustration reached us even here as we sat across from each other at the fire and talked into the night, a timeless human tradition.
At last I opened my eyes, and there it was, the Milky Way, spinning across the wide expanse of pitch black sky, a brilliant patchwork of light from innumerable stars, a much-needed reminder to take perspective and remember that the family of man has faced and learned from difficult challenges throughout our long history and can do so again, if only we will.
As Caryn Sullivan said, “In the face of adversity, we have a choice. We can be bitter, or we can be better. Those words are my North Star.”
Happy Failing Forward From Our Family to Yours,
Anne and Calvert
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