Have you ever felt the weight of the world on your shoulders? I returned to graduate school twenty years after getting my bachelor’s degree. I was so excited to get back to school! I wasn’t concerned about studying, even though I had three kids–we could all do homework together. I didn’t care about being in school with classmates who were twenty years younger than me–I thought they were great. I looked forward to doing research with animals–animals were my first loves. After a move of 450 miles, I walked back into the same building that I had walked out of twenty years before. I loved that place–the classrooms, so new when I was first there, the arena with the sweet smell of cedar shavings and animals, the labs, the animal units or farms, and the sunny lobby where students gathered between classes. Six years after my return, I literally couldn’t make myself walk into that place.
One of the things I thought about when we were hiking at Quarry Park last weekend was how much all those granite blocks of rocks must weigh! We have a pile of ‘small’ chunks behind our garden shed, and I can’t even carry some of those. The size and weight of each one of the ‘spoils’ in each huge pile is staggering! (And then I wondered how this birch tree grew up through all those rocks!)
One of the quarries had the spoils blocks neatly stacked along one side, like a child’s wall of wooden blocks. How did they do that? And why were these blocks of rocks so deliberately placed compared to most of the piles?
At the other end of the quarry, a sculpture of sorts was assembled. What an artist that quarrier was!
We hiked toward the place on the map labeled ‘Overlook.’ The trail was steep and snow-covered, so we were glad to have the cables running on either side as handholds.
From the platform at the top, we could see the oak and aspen woods, the prairie, and the wetland below us.
Then I realized the overlook platform was on top of one of the huge grout piles!
The large, deep swim quarry had a path beside this mountain of spoils blocks which led to a bridge that guided the brave swimmers to the jumping rock.
What courage it takes to jump from such a safe place into the unknown!
We like to think we plan our lives and control the routes we take, but in reality Life orchestrates our journey. I started back to school with such energy, ready to climb whatever mountain I had to in order to reach my goal. But the granite-like weight of the past and the slippery, uncertain path of my endeavor sank my soul into the depths. I didn’t jump willingly into that dark water. Stars of Light that didn’t have a clue about what was happening to me, gave me the strength to go forward. The Great Artist guided me across the bridge of love to an unexpected place high on the rubble pile–back to Myself, and once again, I can see the future.
Many thanks to my Animal Science Stars of Light who also love the smell of cedar shavings and animals: Gina, Chaundra, Heidi, Chanda, Matt, Kristy, Earl, Tanya, and Josh.