• By Erin Chandler, Erinchandlerauthor.com.

WHAT TODAY BRINGS

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest of wilderness.” – John Muir Molly Caro May wrote a wonderful book called “The Map of Enough.” The beautifully written true story is about place, finding a place to settle, finding a place that is Enough. The author lived in many different countries growing up – Australia, Spain, Mexico, the Dominican Republic – and spoke several different languages. Fancying herself a free spirit who would never settle down, she developed an idea about herself as a mythical girl who could never be happy in one place. That is, until she and her fiancé decide to move to a piece of land in the mountains near Bozeman, Montana, owned by her parents. She shares in poetic detail how the land changed her life; the Land, as she calls it. Taking the Reader a full year from season to season, she presents a man, woman and dog creating a home for themselves from the ground up. We begin their journey just before winter as they build a yurt to live in near her parent’s cabin. The yurt becomes the center of a universe now populated with wide open fields, snow, trees, an owl, a lion, grass, mud and fresh air. As Vincent van Gogh said, “I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?” Molly May frets over the imminent travel bug that may creep up on her again. With so many insights gained, threatening her mythical self, she questions everything she once believed. Like any good heroes’ journey, her ego eventually lost to the bigger picture of self. Through physical labor and the unyielding power of Mother Nature and her brutal insistence that she was small compared to this rich life, Molly chipped away at the cocoon she had wrapped herself in. Only then was she released from the prison of thinking she would always need more. At one point the Land asked the author, “Do you think you are better than this?” She writes, “Standing near the firs, surrounded by stones, cooled by the wind, in the middle of an American state less populated than almost anywhere, I imagined what would happen if every single human, in one collective moment, revealed the impulses within that didn’t match the image we each show to the world. Texture. Complexity. Necessary collapse.” It is in our quietest moments that we can hear our true nature. What could be more important than hearing what our hearts call for us to do, to be? How brave to listen without judgement or fear that an unexpected realization might drive us in a foreign direction. In Molly Caro May’s case, the foreign direction was staying in one place. In the end, we are so glad that she recognizes the profoundness of the Land she comes to call home. Sometimes the most daring and unpredictable thing is not to move, to travel inward instead, with only the purity of nature to guide us.

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