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If I were to ask each person one question, it would be this: what sustains you?

Not where do you work and how do you pay the bills, but what makes you wake up each morning, feed yourself each day and continue to breathe; what is it that really fills you with life?

If you were to ask me this question, I would respond: wildness and words.

Wildness because it simultaneously pulls me outside of myself and brings me deeper within.  Wildness because it wakes me each morning with bird song and leads me into the forest to follow trails marked by coyote scat and lined with hobblebush.  Wildness because it leads me off the trails to discover pink lady slipper, trillium, and fields of blue cohosh where I lay down to rest and feel my own body rooting into the soil.  Wildness because it leads me to rivers and lakes where I take off my clothes and dive like an otter, water slick against my skin, as loons paddle in alcoves and wind ripples over the surface sending waves to the shore, and the sun warms the laughter that bubbles up out of my belly.  Wildness because it stretches my heart open and tells me I am part of this world.

Words because they are the creation of voice and a tool of creation themselves.  Words because they give meaning to sound, shape and light.  Words because their meanings bring understanding and understanding brings me deeper into wildness and wildness brings me through sound and into the heart of silence.

If I were to ask each person one question, it would be this: what sustains you?  If we were to listen to all the answers, I think we would find a world of convergences where one person’s sustenance gives rise to another’s, and that person’s sustenance meets another’s at a crossroad, until an entire web takes form that cannot be clipped in one place without it affecting the whole.  If we were to listen to all the answers, I think we would slow down enough to remember that our lives are energy and there are endless ways to manifest that energy.

So I ask: What sustains you?

Female Red-Winged Blackbird, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah 2011