It has now been two years since I travelled to Touchstone to take Rachel Sager‘s class. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that would be the pivotal experience that set me on the path down which I am now travelling. Since then, for whatever reason, I have taken to celebrating this ‘anniversary’ of sorts.
At first I thought I was being silly and sentimental (and I probably am, to some degree), but I like the ritual and tradition of it. I also like that it clearly establishes a marker against which I can measure my progress and serves as a reminder to stop and take stock of how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go.
This year, in addition to listening to Josh Ritter’s “Lark” (my Touchstone theme song), I celebrated by going on my first foraging outing of the year. It was still a bit early in the season and the waters were high at my favourite scavenging spot, but they had receded just enough that there was a thin strip of shoreline for me to explore.
While down at the river’s edge, I sat down on a big boulder and took a moment to reflect. No deep or revelatory thoughts in particular, just a general feeling of satisfaction when, in my mind’s eye, I set “Grounded” (that first piece) and “Quod erat demonstrandum” (my latest piece) side by side and saw that, yes, in fact, I have made progress. And also a feeling of excitement when I started to think about all that potentially lies in store for me if I keep showing up and doing the work.
I think it’s important to occasionally step back and assess. Whether you do it once a year or just on an ad hoc basis, it’s a good exercise: it helps put things in perspective and it gives you a little motivating push (or a kick in the pants if you’ve been slacking). I’ve tried doing it by calendar year, but it just doesn’t hold as much meaning for me and seems rather arbitrary. So I will continue to celebrate my Touchstone anniversary and use it as a prompt to pause and reflect. And if nothing else, it’s a good excuse to go foraging…!