Oh, my goodness! It is mid-way through October. Last week, I was derailed. If you followed the news at all, then you know that South Carolina was slammed by the worst flooding in more than a century of keeping records. We had record rainfalls for a single day, some places receiving more than twelve inches in less then twelve hours. So many people have been displaced; some are still in shelters. Schools were disrupted for up to a week, and the city of Columbia’s water system was contaminated for eleven days. Roads are still closed, bridges washed out, sink holes still forming and collapsing under roadways.
On top of that, the students of the school where I teach lost a classmate, and we all dealt with unspeakable sorrow and grief.
My camera and my voice went silent.
In Joseph Campbell’s discussions of the archetype of the hero’s journey (or the quest), the hero must descend into the abyss, the lowest point of his journey. It is in the abyss that the hero often receives a boon, or a gift of some sort, to take back with him or her when he or she returns to the known world. Sometimes, the gift is a tangible object or a talisman; sometimes it is a scar from a battle wound. This talisman, gift, boon (whatever you want to call it) reminds the hero of the journey and the lessons learned.
Last week, I fell into an abyss and slowly I am working my way upward.
This week, I am resetting myself on the 31 days in October journey. My boon, if you will, was a day spent with my mother on what would have been her fifty-ninth wedding anniversary. Daddy has been gone for two months now, and the grief is still present, still fresh, and still deep. We bought apples from an orchard in North Carolina, and we tasted delicious wines at a local vineyard. We talked, shared memories, and cried a few tears. My mother has been more like my best friend since I was a little girl, and this trip was just another way to celebrate that special bond.
By the way, my mother is a bit “camera shy” and there are not many pictures of her in my archives.
So, today, I begin the 31 days reset. And today, I will seek out other gifts to bring along with me for the journey.