Several years ago, a friend of mine proposed we engage in what she called a “snappy bio challenge”. She sadly passed away in 2014 but I ran across the beginning of my snappy bio the other day as I was organizing material for this new blog. I thought it would be fun and fitting to open this section with that intro:
Creeping Ivy: In Which Ivy Gets Her Name and Thinks About Destiny
Creeping Ivy was raised in the hills of West Virginia. The first eight years of her life were spent in the community of Pea Ridge, some little ways outside the town of Huntington. As you might imagine, the amenities in Pea Ridge were few and far between. There was a bookmobile that paid a regular visit to the elementary school, though Ivy hated it because the librarian there always tried to steer her to the “baby” books on the two bottom shelves. There was a drive-in movie and a diner but not much else. Ivy spent her years there reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, developing a crush on dark-haired Michael Amory, spying on the witch-who-lived-down-at-the-end-of-the-street and dreaming about dinosaurs and other exotic things.
When Ivy was eight, her parents moved the family in town to a house on Ritter Blvd. The new house was high up on a hill with one immediate neighbor and an undeveloped stand of woods across the street. Ivy loved it there. She spent hours in the woods. Oh, the adults were full of warnings. “Watch out for the Copperheads, the Cottonmouths, the Black Widows, the bad things,” they said. Ivy didn’t care. She wandered and wandered, tracking down trilliums, jack-in-the-pulpits, May apples and other woodland blooms. Most of all she loved the vines; they twirled and twined , attached and climbed, crept and thrived. There in the woods, with the sun filtering through the canopy and the leaf-littered floor smelling of decay, she began to call herself Creeping Ivy.
And so Ivy’s childhood years were spent. She did the normal things: scrambled down the hill behind the house and walked to school, fell in love with The Beatles, took guitar lessons and built model planes. But no matter what else she might be doing, her thoughts always strayed to the woods. They beckoned her, most especially at night when the moon was high and the owls called to each other from tree to tree. Her destiny lay there. One day she would follow it. “I may be young,” Ivy thought, “but I know where I really belong.”
I’m in my sixties now. The love of books and a love of nature have stayed with me through the years. I’ve also held on to my childhood love of old scifi and horror films, of dogs, of solitude. I’ve also (thankfully) jettisoned some things that once made me drool. Swiss cheese and butter sandwiches on white bread come to mind.
The older me discovered a love for writing and photography and visual arts. Unlike my childhood self, the older me is still searching for my destiny, a sense of belonging. And that’s okay. Along the way I’ve also discovered that the search is what really matters. If we ever stop searching and questioning, life will lose its luster. Take time to meditate and contemplate but never stop the search.
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