Working through The Artist's Way has prompted me to remember and reconnect with mentors from my past. My first and dearest thought is of my advisor during my junior year of high school, Jill.  She was 27, and I was 16.  But we had many things in common: we shared a birthday, had the same exact eye glasses, and connected over our mutual love of writing (back then, I was a poet).

I dug through a box in the back of my closet to find this note that she wrote to me at the end of that year, just before she left for a new teaching job. She was in a faculty meeting, but her mind wandered and she wrote this poem for me.

Part of moving forward
is understanding what’s behind.
Like trees, we grow from essential elements,
the nutrients of our youth seeping
through our stretching skins.
Like leaves, our hair will come and go,
like boughs, our limbs may even break,
But our stories, like seeds, will forever be fed
by the heart’s rich soul,
telling themselves again and again
through the truest light in our eyes.
The light in my eyes today tells of meeting
a girl whose roots have mirrored
the pattern of mine, twisting around
the same boulders of fear, exposing themselves
at the edges of the same hopeful, vernal pools,
spreading like a net of chance and faith
to clutch at the core of what keeps us alive.
And as the rings of our years spiral outward,
gaining texture and heft, we’ll know
that we were grafted together back then,
and this is part of what has made us so strong.

-Jill, May 2002

There simply aren't words for how I feel about this poem - its trueness, and the hope and strength that I feel from it, even many years later.  

I treasure it.


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