The boat in the backyard is a small sailboat with peeling paint made by hand and completely from wood. Her name is Spirit, and as far as I know, she has been only in the water once. My husband, Chad, sails. When he saw the boat, he had visions of us as a family sailing on the lakes in East Tennessee, but that was before we knew that East Tennessee isn't known for Her sailing. I said, "Sure, buy the boat," when he came home and asked. I, too, love the water and enjoy sailing. He bought the boat used from a person in Vestal area. She was a small sturdy boat. He parked Spirit in the big backyard and set up the mast and put up the sails. Our one year old son, Blue, loved the boat and wanted to climb and play in it, and, of course, we let him. Why not? Who wouldn't want to play in a sailboat and "drive" the wooden old-fashioned looking steering wheel? (After all these years, one would think that I have sailing terminology down, but, uh-uh-no...so it's a steering wheel.)
We moved shortly after that to a small city lot. Spirit came with us and quickly became a permanent fixture in our tiny backyard taking up quite a bit of space. The kids would come over and play on her. We even used Spirit during the Knoxville Marathon as a pirate ship. We dressed as pirates and yelled from Spirit at tiring marathon runners passed through our neighborhood. When it rains, though covered with tar paper, she fills with water. Spirit doesn't have a drain hole so she often remains filled with water until Chad bails her out.
Finally, Chad felt extreme determination one day, hitched up Spirit and took her down to the river. He put her in the water and took her for a sail. He had his big umbrella open for protection from the sun, but a big wind blew. The wind caught the umbrella and made Spirit's maiden voyage quite cumbersome.
Spirit is rather neglected. Her paint is peeling and the wood is splitting, but she is more loved by her little boy that ever. With this last series of rains, Spirit holds quite a lot of water. And now with the freezing temperatures, she is filled with eight inches of ice, which our son LOVES. Yesterday, a new friend came home from school with us. On the journey home, I told Blue about the ice in the boat. His friend asked, "You have a boat." Blue casually replied, "Yeah." The friend asked, "Can we play in it?" Having played in the boat for 5 years, again, Blue replied casually, "Yeah." The friend more excitedly replied, "REALLY? Can we play Star Wars in it?" Blue, catching the excitement of his friend, assured them that they could definitely play Star Wars in the boat.
Sometimes I feel a little sad for Spirit. I think of Rob Brezsny's advice for me in regards to the upcoming year (which he borrowed from the historian, Gerald Sorin), "When Reb Zusye went to heaven, God didn't ask him why, in his life on Earth, Zusye wasn't Moses, but why he wasn't even Zusye." I look out the kitchen window at Spirit and think, "But she's a boat, not a jungle gym." But how do I know. How don't I know that Spirit was always supposed to be a jungle gym and someone turned her into a sailboat? Just because she looks like a sailboat and feels like a sailboat, doesn't make her a sailboat. Maybe on the inside, she is really something else, and that something else is manifesting right before my eyes. How many of us have something/someone else deep on the inside that we need to allow to awaken? I know I do.
My journey is ending in one aspect. My warrior persona is no longer needed. This wounded warrior can rest and heal. I can allow myself to feel softer and more feminine. I am grateful to myself and for the warrior within me. I will always appreciate the strength that I was able to show myself that I have. I can see her. So strong and quick. She protected me for so long, but now it's time to say good-bye. I know that I can always call on her energy in times of need, but now I turn over some of that warrior strength to my guide. I trust that He will let me know when I need to reach into that energy. It's time to relinquish the control. It's time for another growth step, but this time, without all the protections I have normally hid behind, but I don't feel vulnerable. I feel ready.
So, like Spirit, I too, have another purpose that is hidden by my exterior. As I realize this, I no longer feel sorrow for Spirit. I honor her and her new being. She doesn't look sad to me. She has new purpose. She is a metaphor for me, an example for my own life. I may look one way, but maybe, I'm truly something/someone else. It is time to shed the conditioning and expectations. It is time to be who I truly am on the inside. And that her name is Spirit...how apropos.