X Marks the Spot


Dawn March 26, 2011

When we were growing up if anyone read about buried treasure, pirates, lost gold mines, or hidden money, a map was always part of the hunt. And X marked the spot. Even one of my favorite Michael Douglas movies, Romancing The Stone, had a treasure map with a variation of X marking the spot showing where the giant emerald lay hidden.

So imagine my delight when I woke up yesterday at dawn and looked out the window. Even before I could let out my little Oreo, I grabbed my camera to capture that great photo op. My own X marks the spot.

Then I realized how appropriate this dawn was for me.

Right now, for me some days still prove more difficult to muddle through than others. Those are the days, maybe you have them also, when life seems to beat you down. You hear about other places that seem to be the perfect haven where stress never falls upon its inhabitants. It’s the Camelot of earlier times or future times, but certainly not the present moment when everything about us churns with turmoil.

Life deals most of us some pretty horrendous blows. Walking away from our environment in search of treasure or instant escape isn’t likely to make us happier. Think of those various lottery winners who win the jackpot, and in the span of a few short years, their lives are often worse than what they were before they found their “X” for treasure.

Perhaps you’ve heard of people who pack up and move from where they were, hoping to find a treasure in a new life elsewhere, an “X” spot that will bring happiness and/or easy living. Personally, I know many who return because that perfect place wasn’t so perfect after all.

So back to my reminder: my dawn delight, my “X.”

I have to admit I’ve thought about getting out of here lately. I’ve been overcome with grief which at times I find very difficult handling. My oldest son and his family live far away; so does my brother and his wife, and my sisters and their families are busy with their lives. I’m certainly not happy with our state and what’s happening politically and economically cause greater stress as I see our income diminishing, our expenses increasing almost daily, our support system for our disabled son who lives with us challenged and threatened in every direction.

But yesterday I saw my sign with a dramatic dawn.

Icy Boulders March 27, 2011

So I considered all day what treasures are here. I took an inventory: my ever-changing lake, my “perfect” home, my incredible friends, my sisters and their families who live near enough that I do see them regularly despite their busy lives. We have a faith community. My husband, who’s my greatest support, is happy here and enjoys the friends he’s made. We have wonderful neighbors. I’m within driving distance of several writers so we can gather together and enhance our creative skills. And most of all, my parents and two sons are buried here. I couldn’t leave them when they were alive; I don’t want do so now.

So yesterday’s dawn served its purpose. It stimulated me to look for the treasures I have about me, not seek elsewhere. This spot is my treasure.

What is a treasure is your life?  Do you need a reminder?

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16 Comments on “X Marks the Spot”


  1. BEAUTIFUL, Casey! The picture and your post!

  2. caseyclifford Says:

    Thanks, Stacey. I appreciate you stopping by!

  3. Nancy Kaye Says:

    Wonderful picture and great thoughts! I often want to get away, but then I spend time with my family or friends and know this is my “best spot”. As the snow is hitting the windows AGAIN, I still feel warm inside thanks to my funny husband, loving family, and caring friends.

  4. Edie Ramer Says:

    Once again you’ve written an evocative post. I’ve been feeling the same thing about our state. Like you, my husband and I are staying because of family. I haven’t had the other challenges that you’ve had, and my heart goes out to you. I’m sending you love and prayers.

  5. caseyclifford Says:

    Nancy,

    How strange today is. Snow just moments ago when I looked outside. Now I see blue sky and sunshine. Go figure.

  6. caseyclifford Says:

    Edie,

    I would guess we’ve both been reminded that life isn’t really greener on the other side of the fence, to play on that old cliche. Glad you found something useful in my posts as I so often do in yours. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Elle J Rossi Says:

    Well that’s a thinker, now isn’t it? I, too, think of leaving all the time. But for me, this isn’t truly home. I’m a transplant and I miss my family dearly. I miss small town life. I miss beach life. You see, I was raised 1/2 time in Indiana (farm life/very small town) and 1/2 time in Florida (beach life/very laid back). I miss both places. I miss family.

    But there are good things here, too. My husband’s family is wonderful. I gave great friends and fellow writers who “get” me. I have a good job and I’m alive. So yes, there are treasures. It may be a small “x” but at least it’s an “x”.

  8. Casey Says:

    My thought, Elle, is to be thankful for the small X. If I had my perfect life my oldest son would be closer but I’m so proud he’s made a life and had success were he is. I’ve often thought of those mothers who watched sons and daughter head west in cumbersome wagon trains with no quick and easy communication. Now that would be truly fiecely awful.

  9. Brenda Says:

    Thank YOU for the reminder! That is such a cool picture you shared. Its influence on your writing was “perfect.” I, too, have been unhappy about our state – political and the economy. Your story and the “perfect” picture really hit home!!!

    Thank YOU MJ and here’s some really HUGE HUGS!!!!

  10. Anne Parent Says:

    As usual, you have given me a lot to think about. I’ve been so set on moving on, that I’m not appreciating each moment where I’m at. That will be my goal for this week. Thank you for your words of wisdom!

  11. caseyclifford Says:

    Brenda,

    Thanks, the hugs are most appreciated. I’m so glad you stopped by and made my day. 🙂

  12. caseyclifford Says:

    Anne,

    Moving on can be done even while appreciating the here and now. In fact, I think you must be grounded to move on. May your week bring you new vistas within your usual world. 🙂

  13. Deb Maher Says:

    Wow! This one took me a whole day and night to think over. The photo is incredible. Still trying to figure it out, how the light formed the X. Remarkable.

    Thought-provoking post, too. Nature was telling you something and, as usual, you were wise enough to see. You have a wonderful treasure in Wisconsin, MJ, in your home on the lake. I know you will value it always.

  14. caseyclifford Says:

    Deb,

    I figure the X was made by two jet contrails at the perfect moment of sunrise. If I had to proffer a guess. What’s most important is how we perceive it and use it in some creative and thoughtful way.

    Thanks for stopping in. Can’t wait till June.

  15. Cyndie Says:

    As we were driving home from Iowa after burying my Dad and the ashes of my Mom, the most beautiful rainbow appeared in the desert sky over the mountains as we descended to our Phoenix home. Throughout the weekend, I had been grieving not only the loss of both my parents within two years of each other but the loss and guilt I felt at not being closer to be able to midwife them through their difficult last years. But when I saw that rainbow in the sky, I knew it was Daddy’s way of telling me that all was at it should be. My place had been and continued to be caring for the two sleeping teens and one pre-teen in the back seat and with my husband in a home near his place of employment. I was able to carry out these responsibilities far from home because of the solid foundation they had given me. Now I was doing the same for the three who had been entrusted to my care during their growing up years. It was good and right; it would be okay. That glorious rainbow was a gift that helped to begin the healing of my grief and guilt.

  16. caseyclifford Says:

    Cyndie, That’s such a beautiful comment and your observation is right on. Your dad was so proud of all of his children and the paths they chose. Your parents gave all of your a strong foundation upon which to build your own strengths as an adult. Just as he did.I’ve long marveled at the beautiful way you’ve blended a unique approach to the traditional in your parenting as well as your career.  Thanks for commenting. 


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