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  • Mj Pettengill

The Edge of the Woods


Magical Woods, CC0
Magical Woods, CC0

I stand at the edge of the woods, observing the contrast between the remnants of winter—death—and signs of new life.


Brown and green, stumps and saplings, old and new, converge. My feet are planted at the border, a transitional place to expect the unexpected. It is here where I test my own boundaries. When they are clear, I will venture into the ordered chaos.

Promises are reflected in wildness. What we own is what we get. Out of the old, we can create something new. But only if we are open to infinite possibilities, trusting ourselves enough to cross the threshold, risking what is most familiar, giving in to the old, knowing ways. Now is the time to embrace intuition. Here at the edge, I am drawn to the golden light that cascades between the shadows, where it promises warmth. Yet, for some time, my feet remain planted in the field. I know it is safe. The wind picks up, and the clouds block the sun. At first, I shiver. Then I stop. Surrendering to uncertainty holds power. The winter was long but not as harsh as winters past. Unfamiliar storms, not of the making of weather, approach from all sides, seeming impossible to navigate. It is only when I look away, turning my attention inward, that I am reminded that these contrasting energies are where the most profound opportunities blossom. My heart shifts from an anxious state of inquiry to finding its way back to its center, to remembering. I must not entirely retreat. I’m here. I showed up. I will answer the call—swirling contradictions amidst a blizzard I had yet to meet—necessary to make the journey ahead.

I am prepared to confront the relentless wind, to hold myself together, seeking lessons unlearned. If fragments are lost or my flesh stripped down to the bone, I know that endings birth new beginnings.

Once tucked safely inside of the mystery, I find comfort in accepting that to face the storm, I must know that I am the storm. There is nothing to fear. There is strength in knowing when to go in and when to go out. In is the way out, but you cannot stay there indefinitely.