Spread Your Wings

By Jocelyn Twight (photo credit Joel Skinner)


I am lost. My force of nature, fiercely independent, botanical genius, beautiful beyond words, Momma died last week. I am numb. I am wandering.

One autumn day I am watering mums at the greenhouse and she falls at the grocery store. The next month she’s on my lap being held in a tight embrace because she cannot sit up herself. There’s music playing with a chickadees song in it. The November sun is shining. My sister holds one hand, and her longtime partner the other. She spreads her wings and leaves us behind with her cancer filled body.

Then suddenly, the next week, I am on a yacht. I am meditating in a completely incorrect cross-legged sitting position. I am at peace.

The night before that the Super Moon was illuminating the night sky and the air was vibrating. I let go of my worries, and clothes, to dive into the Gulf of Mexico. I let the healing energy of the water surround me and I simply floated.

When sleep came I had these revelations. I was at our childhood farm. As a child, I had a safe spot to hide under the towering ferns, laying on the plush vibrant moss and listening to the babbling brook. In this mind-melding picture, I am in the water, underwater.

I am a rock tumbled smooth by the waters around me. I am not just a hard rock. I am granite. Inside me is a crystal. Inside me I am filled with the most amazing peace and love and light. That water though. That water surrounding me is gut wrenching sadness and pain and it is darkness.

Do not forget, though, I am a rock. The water can surround me, it can drown me, tumble me until all my edges are smooth, but it passes over me. It cannot break me. It cannot breach the inside. I have no crack in my shell. It has no choice but to flow on by.

This morning when I awakened I head to the bow for our version of beginner’s yoga. The air was still humming with energy and the birds were singing in the sunrise. Afterwards, while we are sitting in meditation, that visual snapshot reappears.

I breathed in this new awareness. I not only have the sadness around me, but also have the love within me. We coexist, but grief and I are not one.

I am peace. I am love. I am the daughter of generations of women who changed the world for the better by simply being.

I quickly journaled and headed out to the Naples Botanical Garden. I found my Momma there again. She was with me in every plant I could name. I see her in the simple beauty of patterns in the leaves, in the tea roses, her favorite, still blooming out of season, in the beauty of exotic orchids and the resilient air ferns. I stayed for hours not wanting to lose the closeness I felt to her again.

I repeated these actions for a blissful blessed week; yoga and meditation with birds each morning on the bow with the sunrise.

I went to the beach and made hearts out of seashells. In this action my Grandmother and my niece are present.

I visited Edison’s Botanical Laboratory where I thought of my Great Grandma Dora who became a nurse and rang the bell to signal to the town that WWI had ended. While there, I was surprised by a Maxfield Parrish painting. This artist is my favorite, and a love I inherited from hours spent looking at his art with my Aunt Dori.

I went to the Corkscrew Audubon Sanctuary and listened to the birds like I did with my Gamma Jane in the north woods. I quietly repeated the poems we memorized as I watched the egrets in the twilight. Then every night the waves would rock me to sleep in my cabin.

I needed that week. I am forever grateful to my friend who made it happen and who quietly changed my life by doing it. The past is behind me, and I cannot live back there. I am not sure what my future holds because I need to create it. I must try to be in the present with those in my life right now.

At this moment in time we are surrounded by hate, by the ugliness in humanity. There is such injustice, and that tells me we have work to do. I am the product of a long line of fierce, brave and brilliant women. Those of us left behind, we are their legacy now.

There’s no time for sorrow. I have no idea how much time I have. and there is a life out there to be lived. My ancestors were a force to be reckoned with and their light shines through me. I will let their fire make me a Phoenix. I will rise from the ashes. Now it’s my time to show I can spread my wings.


While many of us are Red Queens running around thinking we’re Alices, Jocelyn is the real deal. She has an extensive base of knowledge rooted in all things living, an innate desire to nurture, and an explosive laugh that moves her whole head.


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