Alaska has a way of empowering those who need it most.
When I (accidentally) moved here, I was freshly free from a 7 year me. Seven and one half, to be precise. It was a relationship me. A relationship I’d spent my entire 20’s in and out of and now, here I was, permanently out of it and suddenly in bush Alaska. I knew a whopping total of three people in a state twice the size of Texas, two of whom I had just met. But in a town of a few hundred, that wasn’t a bad start. Yet the person I so desperately needed to meet was me, again.
Thankfully, we were introduced.
If you know of Saturn Returns, you know of the gasp-inducing, eye-opening excitement he creates when mentioned. If you don’t, you should be intrigued (and find out about yours in a quick and dirty and slightly surface version here and wherever else your search leads you). Trust me.
Growing up in sweet Sonoma County, I was well-versed in what to outsiders may have seemed like hippie language but to me was simply the vernacular of my people. Upon first meeting someone, it was not uncommon to ask them their sign after asking their name and that was just the beginning. Off we might go on a get-to-know you astrological escapade. I wasn’t extremely well-versed in the intricacies and I may not have been as “far-out” as some, but I dabbled. And so, in the year prior to dropping everything and accidentally moving to Alaska, I had heard a lot about my entrance into my Saturn Returns.
Saturn Returns is like a beast that lifts you up by the feet and turns you upside down, shaking you until the last piece of lint falls out of your jeans pocket and your mind is sufficiently swirled so that you can’t decipher up from down or peanut from potato. Everything is seen with new eyes.
Or so I was told.
In all honesty, I was both excited for my Saturn Returns and fearful that it wouldn’t happen.
I was never, however, fearful of what it would bring if it did indeed arrive in the life-altering legendary way I’d heard of. I egged it on, asking for direction, praying for change.
Apparently, it heard me.
Looking back, what felt like a suddenly bursting balloon of change, I realized, had actually been filling for some time. I had been slowly departing from my life and my relationship. I had sold my business, quit my job and had just a handful of personal clients that were winding down in their need of me. I had gone back to school to try a new trade, creating independence and space in a too-close relationship. I was slowly finding me again.
And then, the balloon popped and slow was no longer good enough. I awoke one morning from a dream with a certainty I’d never felt. I waited a week to let that feeling pass by. It only got worse. Every day I became more and more nauseous on the fumes of my idling life. It wouldn’t let up and so, I finally listened.
I left my ex.
I left my home.
I parted ways with my clients and…
I bought my ticket to Alaska.
Saturn had certainly returned.
My world had suspended itself in mid backflip and though I didn’t know why my trajectory had me heading for Alaska, I followed the flip through and dove in.
For the first time in almost ten years, I was completely on my own. I had no responsibilities to others, no house to care for nor people to feed nor events to go to. And slowly but surely, amongst all that freedom, I started to re-introduce myself to me.
Nice to meet you.
The closest thing to my comfort zone was a cozy sweatshirt I had brought.
Otherwise, everything was different. From showering (and not showering) to making food I’d hauled in from 8 hours up the road, life was a new puzzle and so, within it, I found myself piecing me back together again, recreating myself as I went.
I re-met me.
And then I met someone else.
The Chief and his girl (to become our girl, Cinda Lou).
And well, we all know how that went: rainbows and kittens and gumdrops (read: dark chocolate), oh my! Of course, there were some rainy days and worries and normal stuff interspersed in between but overall, it’s been pretty Sound of Music-esque
“But wait!” I panicked. I had just met the new me, she was still forming. Alaska had tugged the bravery out of me I hadn’t had to use in a while and had given it a new shine. She had empowered me to step so far outside my comfort zone as to only view it again with binoculars.
How was I to leave all this new only to fall into Couple Me again?
I was terrified to lose my independence but at the same time, I knew I couldn’t pass this up.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to choose between the two.
It turns out, as you might already know, that it is, in fact, quite possible to grow within a relationship, even a brand new one. Blossoming as I may have been on my own, The Chief was added sunshine. He didn’t fear my empowerment, he was often a major source of it, sometimes trumping my own fears with his gusto, pushing me to try when I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to (which he thankfully decoded as meaning that I desperately wanted to try, but was scared to fail and thus, needed to be pushed just a bit harder (with love, of course)).
And so, together we embarked on a new road, while I simultaneously traversed the path of getting to know me, again.
Thankfully, Alaska, never one to allow the same old routine for long, kept us on our toes and kept us learning, about us as a couple and about us as our individual selves. The challenges that left me in frustrated tears, from my first adventures in splitting wood to crashing the snowmachine without a soul in sight helped me find me. She’s a tricky teacher, that one.
Alaska felt like a constant Saturn Returns, a constant flipping me upside down and shaking the last cent out of me until I was righted and ready to start again.
Until, without notice, Saturn didn’t Return.
As quickly as he had entered, he left and his blindingly bright, blaring return had ended.
It was calmer. Quieter. Life took on a normalcy.
The very not normal life of living in the woods started to feel as if I’d lived it all my life. The things that had scared me, didn’t seem so fierce. I had grown used to the set-backs common in the woods and I had even learned some of my own ways to deal with them. I felt relatively confident. I had gotten comfortable.
Alaska was listening and apparently, she thought I was ready for a little shake-up, shake-down.
You see, I was getting comfortable but what I didn’t tease apart from that comfort, what I hadn’t had to factor in was one of the biggest parts of my comfort here: The Chief.
And then, The Chief left, with no certainty of when exactly he would return.
Leaving me, for the first time,
in the woods.
To be continued…