I want to share something beautiful with you today. This is a map of the Mississippi River, created in 1944 by a cartographer named Harold Fisk.
It’s called a “meander map”.
It demonstrates all the various paths that the Mississippi has taken over the millennia. The different colors represent moments in history when the river jumped her banks and changed her course dramatically. Native Americans used to move their settlements along with the river’s constant shifts and changes, but Americans saw things differently. In the 1940s, the Army Corps of Engineers decided to lock down the Mississippi River into a certain course. They built walls and levees and declared: “These are now the official boundaries of the Mississippi. She doesn’t move an inch from HERE.”
Nature, of course, has had different plans.
I’m bringing this up today, because I’ve been thinking lately about the ways that I keep trying to control my own nature. I see the rules and boundaries that I have set for myself over the years, and how often they have failed. I think about the vows I’ve made to myself and others about where I’m going to be next year, or who I am going to be next year. Endless, expensive, stress-inducing efforts to civilize the river of my being.
But if you were to look at the history of my life, it looks a lot like this map right here. This map could be a portrait of my heart’s own journey.
I often say that, after a certain age, every woman in the world could write a memoir called: NOT WHAT I PLANNED. We change. Life changes. We often feel shame, confusi