Only Inside Me

There are green places, deep places, that only I know. I’ve always wondered if I’d eventually find them and weep because I was home. I’d run barefoot through virgin grass and lay my head against trees that murmur uninterrupted by civilization’s cries. I’d share it all with my husband, with our children. We’d see and touch and smell this secret world—our world—together.

When I was eighteen, I boarded a plane for the first time and flew to Ontario. I immersed myself in the life of Madonna House for two weeks. They took me to their farm one day, a fruitful place among rugged hills. It reminded me of my dreams—as a smell will conjure memories—but it wasn’t of my heart. I was sitting among empty beehives, scraping the wax from them, sunlight warming me, when I realized I was free. Free to create my own farm. Free to meet God in a poustinia away. 

And yet the path I’m following is meandering in ways I never foresaw. Perhaps it is only the melancholy air of autumn, but like the leaves stirring in the gardens, my heart too is stirring. I wonder now if that farm, that poustinia, those green mountains and deep valleys, only exist inside me. Perhaps my heart is the only place where Christ and I will meet among sweet pines groaning upward from ancient earth, or in the meadow where time passes in the lengthening of shadows. That cabin, where my barefooted children and I sit on the porch in the dusk and watch the light swimming in the creek, is my poustinia of the heart. God alone resides there with me. 

But the desire for simplicity that birthed the mist-bound woods, the smoldering cookfire, the wild strawberries—I can live it out here and now, in this insignificant prairie town. I can walk among fallen apples with Rosé, crouch and touch the moss, look up at the sky and behold the flocks of geese leaving us. I can be still and hold her, hear her, and love the beauty and goodness before my eyes. 

And the silence I long for dwells in the deepest place I know, not high on a mountain of this earth, but in my heart. 

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