Now Is That Time

Now Is That Time to…   ~ Let others know you care –  every single day. ~ Continue to learn – the opportunities are endless. ~ Laugh until you cry, and cry until you laugh. ~ Express gratitude. ~ Know that you are good. And enough. ~ Allow experiences to flow into your life – and sometimes out. ~ Notice daily signs of grace – a leaf, a child, a dragonfly, a smile. ~ Embrace solitude. It’s the best time to hear what your soul is telling you. ~ Get enough sleep so you can stay awake for your life. ~ Keep dreaming. ~ Keep hoping. ~ Keep striving. ~ Now. Is. That....

The Seconds Between

I’ve been thinking about my dad every day on my trek across England. He would have loved this hike–the picturesque views, the mountain climbs, the rolling green pastures, and the wandering herds of sheep. Sometimes, when the trail is steep and it’s all I can do to concentrate on every step and every breath, I think of the last moment I shared with my father before he died last summer. It was a sacred moment-just as this experience is, and I am carrying his memory with me across 192 miles. The Seconds Between I hear the song of the bird and look upward, searching the surrounding treetops for the soloist. The sun is bright in the sky and I shade my eyes with my right hand. There was no mistaking its call. My dad had taught all of my six siblings and me to listen for and recognize the songs of a variety of wild birds. There, in the highest branch of the tree, I finally spot the bright red silhouette of a male cardinal. Its song is joyful, without being showy. But at this moment, there is a bit of mournful nostalgia in its tune. Life had changed. Not for the cardinal, but for my family. 47 days ago, my father passed away after a long struggle with Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia. I had been counting the days since he left us. And I recalled my counting on the night he died… It was nearing midnight on June 14, 2015. After a two-week vigil of singing hymns, reading psalms, and sharing stories with each other around my...

Mind Your Head

The English have a lovely way of phrasing things. One of my favorite public signs on this Coast to Coast trip has been “Mind your head,” meaning, “Pay attention so you don’t hit your head!” However, after eight straight days of hiking through the English countryside, I’ve come up with my own interpretation of this phrase: pay attention to the world around you. It was mostly my father who taught me to mind the nature around me. Taking walks he’d point out the different animal tracks; the lone scarlet leaf on a branch of a tree; the two-note whistle of the chickadee; the furry caterpillar crawling in the grass; the billowy shapes of white cumulus clouds… I could go on and on about all the “ordinary” things he showed me–turning each one of them into the extraordinary. Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time, but he was really teaching me to “mind my head”– to appreciate the gifts and beauty of every day. On this 192-mile trek, there has been plenty of time for my traveling partner, Gloria and I to pay attention to nature. We take time to stop and look around at the magnificent green valleys, the rippling waters of a lake, the force of a mountain waterfall and the undulating hills preparing us for the climb ahead. And perhaps to Gloria’s chagrin, I’m also pointing out the large black slugs on our path, the iridescent and odd-looking mushrooms, the decapitated sheep’s head, the dead mole in the middle of the trail, and the unusual striations in a boulder. On long days with grueling, steep peaks to...

Hands

Hands Their aged hands are joined from wheelchair to bed. He sleeps. She waits… for the inevitable. Occasionally, she nods off from her black metal perch. But their hands don’t let go. This is how it’s always been— the two of them. Connected. By hand, By heart, By love.   In memory of my father, David T. Lane February 21, 1924-June 14,...

Getting Lost

Getting Lost I’ve come to the conclusion at this stage of my life, that getting lost is a natural and, I dare say, necessary part of life’s journey whether it be getting lost in the city, lost in the country or lost in the direction that your life has taken. Getting lost usually has a negative connotation; but I think getting lost has gotten a bad rap. I mean it isn’t ALL bad. Take Moses for example; after forty days and nights, he became a spokesperson for the Big Guy and had several movies made about him. And how about the two dogs and the cat in The Incredible Journey? Their trek was beyond incredible, but were it not for getting lost, they’d just be three stray animals. (Stay with me here.) Here’s another one–Henry David Thoreau. He actually went to the woods to “lose” himself in thought to discover the essential part of life. It seems to have worked out well for him. Where am I going with all this? Well, I’ve been on this wonderful adventure with my best friend Gloria–a 192-mile, Coast to Coast hike across England. Let me just say, it isn’t for sissies, and if we make it to the end, we’ll both feel like Wonder Women. For 3 weeks, we’ll hike 5 to 14 miles every day. The first section is through some serious mountains where one mile can easily take an hour because it’s straight up the peak. So far, on each of the first two days we have managed to get lost, costing us several hours of additional hiking time and miles....
More Than Ever

More Than Ever

As I sit next to you my hand resting on your arm, you sleep. But still your hands tremor. I want to rub the Parkinsons out through your finger tips– to slow what it is taking from your life. I watch you through tears and memories of years of adoration and love. Now, my father, you lean on me. You rest. Feel my love and gratitude for all that we have shared. I will treasure this moment when you open your eyes, look into mine and ask, “Do you still love me?””More than ever.   “Dedicated to my Dad, David Timothy Lane who fought the good fight until June 14,...

Change

Change. There’s no escaping it. This statement alone assumes that change is something to be avoided. Certainly, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or financial problems would fall under that category. When difficult changes are forced upon us, as they most assuredly will be, we are left feeling that we have no choice in the matter. But we always have at least two choices when dealing with painful change — the choice to deny it, or the choice to accept it. For me, denying change, which I have done more times than I’d like to admit, has always created more pain and stress than accepting it. I’m not suggesting that reflecting upon and analyzing difficult change shouldn’t get its full attention; I’m only offering that there are . . . well . . . some situations that we just cannot change. And change is one of those situations. It can leave us feeling uncomfortable, overwhelmed, desperate, or, at the extreme, broken beyond all hope. But eventually all of those feelings can, and will, change. Even change changes. In accepting change, I try to remember that change involves two parts–endings and beginnings. Perhaps something is leading us in another direction, not because our current situation needs to change, but because . . . well, there’s just something else waiting for us.  It may come in the form of a subtle whisper or a loud wake-up call. It may sneak up on us after years of being lulled into a sense of security in a job, relationship, or attitude about life. It may beckon us, or force itself upon us. Either way, change can fill us with intimidation, skepticism, and fear. For me, this is because I want to know (ahead of time) where the change will lead me....
This is the Path

This is the Path

THIS IS THE PATH This is the path. The one you’re on. The way will be straight and level, winding and steep. There will be mountaintop experiences, and valleys of the unknown; stars of light, and caves of darkness. You will wander and wonder, “Is this the right way?” This is the path. The one you’re on. There will be days of peaceful rest, when you allow yourself to be still. And others, when you cannot travel fast enough to leave the present and get to a new destination– if only to discover that you must pack up your courage and journey further. This is the path. The one you’re on. There will be nights of fear, when you wrestle without sleep for want of answers. You will cry out, “Send me a light in this wilderness, Oh God– some kind of sign that this is the right way!” Perhaps you will receive it . . . or perhaps not. Either way, This is the path. The one you’re on. Some days your feet will be sure of your direction. And others? They will stumble and trip upon the smallest rocks of doubt. Still . . . you walk, staying the mysterious and divine course that life has offered. Then one day . . . when you release the need to know the outcome– when you expect no answers at all– You will realize, without a doubt . . . This is the path. The one you’re on. This . . . Is . . . The . . . Path. Written by Melodie Lane ©2014...
Presence vs. Presents

Presence vs. Presents

Over the holidays, three of my brothers and their families and I celebrated Christmas Day together. We spent the afternoon at the nursing care facility where my dad, 87 years young, is in memory care, and my mom, who would be horrified if I shared her age publicly, lives in an assisted living apartment. Weeks beforehand my siblings and I had agreed to forgo giving each other Christmas presents.

The Top

The Top

Every year for the past six years, I have gone hiking with my life-long friend, Gloria. Before I moved back to Minnesota, she would travel to my home in Texas for a week of hiking in parks throughout the state. During my last year in Texas, we decided to venture further from home and hike the McKitrick Range in Guadalupe National Park. The weather was gorgeous, a mild 50-60 degrees. A footnote: neither one of us are what I would call ultra hikers in terms of physical fitness, but we enjoy the adventure of a good 3-4 mile hike. After hiking for a couple of hours, we came to a fork in the road. One way led downhill to the grotto; the other upward to the mountain ridge. We chose the ridge hoping for greater views and because I generally have this inner need for uphill battles. After climbing steeply for about a mile, we took a 10-minute break. I was sensing that Gloria was ready to turn around and hike back out; however, knowing me as well as she does, she let me make the decision.  I decided we should continue the upward climb in spite of our dwindling water supply, slightly sunburned arms, and overly-stimulated muscles. Ever since I can remember, I have always been driven to reach for the top. Most people would say  that’s a good goal to live by. And most of the time I would agree. But sometimes, we need to take a second look at the standards that we set for ourselves. They may be too low, and then again, they may be unrelenting. After hiking for 5 miles–mostly...
This Day

This Day

It isn’t that I don’t think of you Nearly every day, Or on all the other days Just as often. It’s only that on This Day, I am reminded of when Time Divided itself in two – The Before and The After. When the world sent its strongest reminder Of the one and only thing That matters in this Life.   Now, As I lay awake on This Day Many years past The After, My thoughts linger a moment longer On memories of Your voice, Your laugh, Your smile. And on This Day, I allow myself A momentary pause from what is real Wishing that This Day Could still be The Before.   Dedicated to Carl Lane Metzler (1981 to...