Each morning I slept until I needed to get up with no phone and took my journal and book down to the bubbling brook in the backyard of where I stayed. I've been here so many times (at least once/year since I was 13) and yet, I had never done that before. There's always new places, even in familiar places. To listen to the calm water as I realized self-discovery was wonderful, literally. It ignited my creativity and empowered me to be me and that was when I realized what I was doing-I was truly embracing Independence with a capital I. I've been reading a lot about the wild woman archetype, specifically Women Running with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkold and I've felt incredibly empowered by the book because it is a type of woman our society doesn't usually embrace or talk about. It's a woman who is strong, emotive, creative, sensual, and yes, independent. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the maternal, but that's just not where I'm at in life. Each day up on the North Shore, I did what I wanted to do on my time. Sometimes others joined me, like my friend Kevin, and we biked 24 miles on the Gitchi Gami by Lake Superior passing through fields of lupine, yarrow, and lilies (yes it was also beautiful) and had lunch down by the water. Other times it was just me like when I ran ~1.6 miles to Dyers Lake and jumped in the water and swam halfway across and back hearing a loon mating call which sounds like a laugh and is one my favorite sounds. Another highlight was watching fireworks on the 4th from a canoe on Superior. The reflection of the fireworks, the noise reverberating off the lake, it was impressive for a small town show. More so, it was impressive that despite being July 4th I could see my breath! Canoeing back in the dark under the light of an almost full moon was a memory I will hold dear.
So as others enjoyed their 4th by partying into the wee hours of the night I decided I was going to abstain and really get in touch with my inner Self. It worked and it couldn't have been more perfectly timed as an independent woman. It was also the perfect timing to finish a book I've been working on for awhile, the Artist's Challenge. Since January, I've been journaling daily about recovering as an artist so I can get to my true artist self and share my creativity again. The last week (it's a 12 week course technically, but life got in the way) was about a sense of autonomy. How will I continue to feed and express my artist when the book is gone? This weekend was a perfect start. There was no phone, there was continual self-reflection, there was adventure, there was community and deep conversations that challenged me, provoked me, nourished me, and taught me new perspectives. But at the end of the day, despite 10 other people being there, it was just me doing my thing. I am Zara. I challenge you to find your thing if you haven't. You, as an independent person, even if our country may not be giving everyone their deserved freedom, you deserve it. Take it.