Three and a half years ago I made much needed changes to my blog, finding more identity in this space. Soon afterwards, I entered graduate research and found myself bound by ethical guidelines of a research journey that needed me to write privately, or at least, not here about my research.
And though my beautiful blog carried on, it lived rather quietly, living mostly neglected as superficial sharings happened; my writing and reflection poured into my thesis.
Last March I successfully defended my thesis, Coyote Stories: Attending to Narratives as Life-Making.
For a while I was tired. But only a while. Soon, those who love me began to gift me with journals and coloured pens. Write. Write, they smiled. And truthfully. I missed it.
I had lived my thesis journey deeply embedded in the rhythms of writing and reflecting. I had learned about my heart, my students, my family, my world, my practice, and my learning. And I had often returned to share with a Works in Progress writing group.
What a habit my thesis writing had become.
And then, it was done.
So I took the summer to reflect. I went solo-back-country camping, alongside bears. I swam in swift moving rivers in hot July sunshine, where no one might find me. And I hiked. I hiked and I hiked. I skipped a literary festival I had attended every year for the past decade. And then in September, I had a complete hysterectomy and cancer removed.
And I have been learning to hike again.
I hiked slowly and thought deeper and tried anew to simply sort things through.
I have returned again to the research I crave. The study I love. To Learning. I love attending to and thinking deeply with stories of experience.
I have returned to live alongside students. I have returned. Home. More than a classroom. I am home alongside youth. I have returned to hiking in the mornings. To chasing sunsets. To chasing sunrises.
I have cleaned up my blog, again. Because writing is part of me. Because thinking things through is like the clarity of being alone on a North Saskatchewan River. Because writing is like the wolves that howled those nights last July, lifemaking.