After moving to Connecticut I quickly began to feel claustrophobic. It was an emotional and physical sense of claustrophobia. One hundred years ago Connecticut was 75% farmland. Today Connecticut is 75% forest. Don’t get me wrong; I love trees. I am a tree planter. I have even planted trees when I rented. I have planted flowers, shrubs, vegetable gardens and herbs wherever I’ve gone. I transformed our St. Petersburg home into a garden paradise front and back. But in Connecticut there are so many trees that the sky is mostly obscured. You drive Connecticut backroads and they are lined with trees. Even in the cities there are trees everywhere there aren’t buildings. You can spend an hour or two traversing trails in Connecticut state parks with the perceived goal of a breathtaking vista only to arrive at your destination to find the view once again obscured by trees, shrubs and vines. Connecticut is lush but its landscape is obscured by so much vegetation. It is difficult to see the sky from most locations.
So when I drive someplace and the landscape suddenly opens up it takes my breath away. My heart leaps for joy! I can suddenly see farther than a few feet ahead of me. I can see there is a big world out there.
Everyday life can be a lot like this: the big picture becomes obscured by the mundane, clamoring din of circumstances, responsibilities and events. We can end up paralyzed, frozen to a situation’s realities that we know should be different. But can they be different? Hemmed in by a dense forest of obstacles, roadblocks, and even foes we become resigned to circumstances and just allow the status quo to rule our lives. True friends will say, “Ahem, it doesn’t need to be that way.” If we have the strength or just a little bit of fight left in us we embark on the quest I call “Finding the Sky,” that place where we once again realize that there is a big, wide world out there completely different than what we are living, a world full of hope and promise.
We cannot push aside the obscuring forest. It is immovable. We must look for a different vantage point, one far above this limited view. It is an exhausting journey because we are assailed by depression, self-doubt and even naysayers. If we hear but do not embrace the lies of these dark forces we can make progress, a little each day. Then something miraculous happens. One day, as we are journeying along there it is: the big, limitless sky. The blinders of the forest are gone. We can see to the left. We can see to the right. Most importantly, we can see ahead a future full of light, full of hope, and full of life. We have found the sky.