Kathy O, who lived 5 doors down the street, would, when things weren’t going her way, pack up all the dresses she’d brought for dress-ups and head home, leaving the rest of us sitting there. That’s just how she was.
Why am I thinking about her today? Now?
I’ve been picturing Lewis & Clark, looking west,
about to head off to places they’ve never been,
not knowing in advance the full distance,
how long it might take,
what may be required of them.
I would have been dead weight on that expedition, what with bears and mud and weather and needing to lift boats and supplies and carry the whole shebang around waterfalls. Traveling upstream! And not speaking the language of so many they encounter.
I would not have said yes
(not that I would have been invited).
I’m forced to face this truth about myself. I would not have gone. I’d have hunkered down in my cabin, stayed put and let someone else go.
I shiver, just thinking about that journey, and I think I know why.
That same fear is close to me, not far. Not 2 centuries ago.
I, too, stand on a frontier, like most of us do at least once in our lives. We stand, and what lies ahead is a frontier to us. We don’t know what we’re heading into. We might have ideas about it. We may have heard bits and pieces from what others said they thought they saw when they were out there, or what they heard someone else say, but really we don’t know for sure what’s out there, what we’ll face.
We don’t know about it
and we don’t know about ourselves,
whether we have what it takes.
It becomes clear me, when I visit the Lewis & Clark exhibit and I feel the slug in me resisting, saying, “NO WAY I’d sign up for that” that I see where I truly am, standing on my own frontier, weighing the inconvenience of it all and leaning toward staying home by the fire with a cup of tea.
I see this about myself, that I’m all for someone else making the trip and I’ll come to a museum and learn all about it. But blaze the trail, me?
Would I be willing to be that inconvenienced and discomforted?
Am I willing now, on my own frontier?
Or will I, like Kathy O, choose to pack up my story and take it home?
And if I do, who will I be leaving out there all alone, to shiver in the cold?
I keep thinking about that father at the cookout.