With the arrival of spring, my April fool’s is that my soul still feels struck in the muck of winter. At the outset of winter, I invested in a pair of Sorel boots called “Helen of the tundra”. In Southeast Alaska, the niceties of fashion are overlooked in exchange for practicality. I wouldn’t go so far as to say my tundra boots would keep me warm in the actual tundra, the Seattle tundra perhaps. However, along with my extratuffs, my feet have been well protected this winter. Of course, my feet are not really the problem, though my ankles give me a run for my money every so often.
What thoughts come to mind when one hears the word tundra? I envision a vast, desolate expanse with winds scouring the surface of the earth, creatures and plants huddled over to provide tenuous protection and respite from the cold, harsh clime. I suppose it would be a bit over the top to describe my life this winter as tundra-like, but I think we all go through times where we feel the wind acutely blowing through our being.
Can this wind purge our inner beings of the dust in the corners, the baggage we carry from our past, the resentment we have for those who have hurt us, and the guilt we feel and compassion toward those we have caused pain?
With all of these roiling emotions inside, it is only natural that they should at some point boil over, yet our society expects, nay demands, we deal with this inner storm quietly and with composure. Well, the demure way of being in the world has never been my forte. I regularly walk into things, and I feel thankful if I can remember the origin of a bruise.
What of the bruises beneath the surface? How does one deal with the frustration, the anger, the hurt, the lost, desolate, tundra feeling of being in the world alone?
A friend and his wife have helped to guide me through my tundra with many hugs, talking sessions, words of comfort, and the most empowering salvation – music. A few weeks ago, I went over to their house to practice a song for open mic, and I just couldn’t transfer my inner voice to the outer world through the words of the song. My friend looked at me and told me, “Marieke, there is so much craziness with everything going on in your life. Harness that emotion and pour it out in the words of this song. Upon further reflection he said, “What you need is a primordial scream”! So we went outside, took deep breaths, and screamed at the top of our lungs to the blanket of earth, trees, and sky that surround their house. With renewed energy, I bounced back into the house, stood stall, and belted out the words of the song.