My Twisted Road Back to Apricotpie

An Essay By Sarah Bethany // 2/18/2009

It is sometimes fun to view a life metaphorically, and I have always liked thinking about my life as a road. (Not a very original picture, I admit...) This road has been snaking through the woods and over hills. Each stage of my life has had a different landscape. I have loitered, to rest… and I’ve sat on a rock and stared at two different paths for a long time. And frequently, especially in homeschooling, I felt like I was going down a grassy side-path far off the highway…

Maybe you’re curious where I picture myself now. Well, this view changes daily; maybe even hourly! After living at college for two years, and finding myself back at home, the path felt familiar again under my feet. It can be healing to experience a season, when you had not seen a “home fall", for example, for two years. Last autumn was a renewal; I felt like I was experiencing the Massachusetts gold and orange for the first time. “I remember - I remember - I remember!” It did a lot to bring me back to being young again; or at least remembering who I was two years ago. The seventeen or eighteen year old girl who walked in these woods and ate these nuts.

Who am I? Who was I? Who am I?

And then, to experience a home spring! It somehow started early with me this year - that sweetness of anticipation. Even with the heavy gray snowstorms, I somehow smelled a wetness in the air, even if it didn’t exist. Everything fresh, and everything sunny, only added to the tingling feeling I was experiencing. I have always loved fall better than spring. I have never myself felt particularly called or drawn towards spring. This spring is mine, though; this spring will be mine.

This one early morning, through the window, I heard our first birdsong. It pierced me, hit me in the gut almost, and carried me on a wave to three years ago. Hearing the bird songs at dawn is, to me, equivalent of seeing the evening star.

This link is very handy; you can easily and quickly listen to bird songs just by clicking on the bird name: http://www.enature.com/birding/audio.asp

Bird songs do a lot to me, as they probably do to other people. A chickadee’s “dee doo” at once makes me feel like I am in a certain sun-drenched, silent woods, and a young girl again… no matter where I am or how old I am. The wood thrush, however, makes me feel like I am deep in a viney forest on an old adventure with the boys.

I was wondering, a few weeks back, while I was driving, if spring was going to come early for me this year. Early “for me” sounds funny, but I mean - that it will come faster than I thought. That I wouldn’t have had time to build up anticipation. I suspected so, and am right. It’s a funny thing to be hit with beauty in the gut unprepared. Sometimes it’s the human inclination to want years of preparation before… what? I would rather wait years, getting ready, and proving myself, before... what? I feel that I should suffer more, bear more, before... heaven? The same with spring. Spring is a reward of sorts. But then I wonder - what if God wants to give me a gift sooner? I’ll take it! What if God wants to give me joy, unawares, and undeserving, and unequal to it, and surprising? It made me laugh, while driving, to think of joy like a headbutt to the stomach. I’ll take it, if You want it.

"In a most irritating manner he instantly slapped his hands against one another, daintily flung one of his legs up behind him, pulled my hair, slapped his hands again, dipped his head, and butted it into my stomach."

But back to my twisted road.

It used to be that I trusted, very deeply, when leaves seemed to close in all about me, and I couldn’t see ahead. There was a secure and almost lazy feeling homeschooling. Now, as a young adult, the horizon is scary. Why? Because it is clearer? Or unclear? “What are those dark shapes I can’t make out?” “What is this blank snowy field?” “Why do I see nothing growing in this place yet?” “Is life written or unwritten? Is my fate determined or undetermined?”

I was with a friend last summer, sleeping over somebody’s house, and while we were falling asleep I whispered to her how I felt, like I had never before, that my future was blank. Complete black. I couldn’t anticipate anything or build up anything, it seemed. Black black black.
“Well, it could be the blackness of a tilled field,” she whispered back, "expecting the seeds."
I’ve kept those words in my head. I felt that they were sure.
“But why do I see nothing growing in this place?”

I am sort of seeing this piece as necessary to write, and probably very boring for you to read… Let me go faster: let me unroll my map and trace the road back: In 2003, I first went on apricotpie.com. I loved reading the pieces. That year I sent a message to one of the girl writers and we became email penpals. And this past November I visited with her family many states away for the second time.

In 2003, I also noticed one of the writers who had lost a younger brother, and that story touched me, like it would everyone else... But when I went to college, the sister of that writer was my first roommate. Not by my design. And this past summer I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. I was on the phone with her yesterday and she was talking about getting new chickens, and how the morning sickness has passed.

Apricotpie, without getting too sentimental, has woven itself in and out of my life in many ways. I practically lived on the message board, as a home-away-from-home. It gave me a community some kids have at school. It was a lively conglomeration. Anyone from there will remember our food fights, and elections, and story role plays… and our fiery debates… To be honest, I can’t even reconfigure my homeschool years in my mind without the fun of the AP message board.

You may wonder why I’ve never been an apricotpie writer. Oh, lots of reasons. I’ve read some people’s work here and despaired. “What is the point of writing anything else?” And posting a piece seemed equivalent to leaving a diary open on a coffee table.
Yet, half a dozen years later, here I am. Hope you won’t get too bored.

Comments

Wow. Sweet. Welcome

Wow. Sweet.
Welcome back!
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In this sinful world there is no such thing as "peace" unless someone strong enough is willing to protect and defend it. -Norm Bomer, God's World News

Anna | Wed, 02/18/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Amazing. You're a

Amazing. You're a stupendous writer.
Welcome back to AP!!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Elves and Dragons! Cabbages and potatoes are better for me and you. Don't go getting mixed up in the business of your betters, or you'll land in trouble too big for you." — Hamfast Gamgee (the Gaffer)

Clare Marie | Wed, 02/18/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Hm

This in an interesting essay. I found myself reading it (in my mind) with the voice of Audrey Hepburn....something about it made me think that is how it should be read. You know, like the narration part in the beginning of Sabrina.

Have things changed here since 2003 three? That's funny about the roommate thingy. Did you know who each other were immediately?

Don't mean to be nosy, but what did you go to college for? I can't wait to go to college. Then I'll know that things are really happening in my life (that, and when I go to London in my sixteenth year).

I ask a lot of questions don't I? Ooops! There another one.

"A wizard is never late, nor is he early; he arrives presicely when he means to." Gandalf

The Brit | Thu, 02/19/2009

Oh!

Sarah this was beautiful! I am so glad you finally decided to become a frequent writer. I was so excited to see your piece up the other day. My most favorite part of it was paragraph 11: "It used to be that I trusted, very deeply, when leaves seemed to close in all about me, and I couldn’t see ahead. There was a secure and almost lazy feeling homeschooling. Now, as a young adult, the horizon is scary. Why? Because it is clearer? Or unclear?".
Awesome.

Brianna | Thu, 02/19/2009

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"We have been created for greater things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?" ~Mother Theresa

Thanks, everybody!

Audrey Hepburn... haha. My voice is dull as rocks compared to hers.
I'm going to college for literature and art. And yes, I actually DID recognize my roommate right away, even though I had never seen her before. Good point! I should add that in the narrative.

And thanks, Bri!

Sarah Bethany | Sun, 02/22/2009

Great job on this essay! I

Great job on this essay! I really like your writing style.

Sarah | Sun, 02/22/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

:)

I just love you.
A lot.

Aisling | Mon, 02/23/2009

Oh, by the way, I thought

Oh, by the way, I thought that it was funny that you were almost on ZOOM. Ha, ha, and to think that my brother used to make fun of me for watching that show. Who knows if I mightn't have seen you there if you could have made it. Huh, and he wanted to watch Bonanza...

"The more I see of the world, the less inclined I am to think well of it." Elisabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

The Brit | Sun, 03/22/2009

ZOOM

That was an awesome show!! He shouldn't have made fun of you for it! LOL! Haha, yeah, I wish you could have seen me on it, too! The auditioning process was so much fun. Oh, well. :P Those were my glory days... at 11...

Sarah Bethany | Mon, 03/23/2009

I used to watch ZOOM all the

I used to watch ZOOM all the time... at one point I had a crush on one of the boys... :)
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Tue, 03/24/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I bet it was Mike (or

I bet it was Mike (or whatever his name was). He got glasses and braces last time I saw him. Ha Ha Ha. Remember the flower that colored itself when put in food coloring water? All those wonderful science experiments. They never worked when I tried them. And that language...I could say good night and that was pretty much all (yes, I'm dumb).

"It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you." from Batman Begins

The Brit | Tue, 03/24/2009

No it was not! It was Kyle,

No it was not! It was Kyle, actually. And I have no idea what happened to him.
I do remember that flower. I thought it was awesome. Never tried it, though.
I, at one point, could talk like that, but I've forgotten what it was. Mostly I just remember Fannee Doolee now. :)
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Wed, 03/25/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I don't remeber that one.

I don't remeber that one. Was he black? I remember a black guy on there. I personally kind of like black guys...kind of...

But yeah, I tried the flower, and I think it didn't work because it was a different kind of flower. Whatever....

The Brit

Anonymous | Wed, 03/25/2009

No... he was on the last two

No... he was on the last two or three seasons. Brown hair, mostly wore green. He was funny...
Oh! Weirdly enough, he has a page on PBS kids! lol

http://pbskids.org/zoom/cast/homepages/kyle/index.html
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Thu, 03/26/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

...

Yup, zoom was cool, but lets bring it back guys. :D ;)

Brianna | Thu, 03/26/2009

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"We have been created for greater things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?" ~Mother Theresa

Whoops! Sorry, rambler

Whoops! Sorry, rambler alert! :D
Thanks for being the Conversation Nazi, Brianna :)
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Fri, 03/27/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

*

Whoa, not a Nazi! :o :P Something more pleasant, please if you must.

And I like 'rambler alert!'. I think I'll just say that from now on. ;) :P :D

Brianna | Sat, 03/28/2009

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"We have been created for greater things. Why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts?" ~Mother Theresa

How about Guardian? Does

How about Guardian? Does that fit you better? :)

OK, I'm stopping now. For reals!
*************************************************
Chaos.
Panic.
Disorder.
My work here is done.

Anna | Sat, 03/28/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

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