Since I was four, I have loved nature and how it connects to spirituality. How can someone look at the beauty and organization of everything around us and miss how magical it is?
As a child, I remember playing pretend while outside with my sister Kimberly, and my cousins Shayna and Shawn. We always used to go for hikes, sometimes taking sticks with us: magic wands.
The autumn I remember most clearly was when I was eight years old. The red, orange and yellow of the trees and the leaves that fell and fluttered to the ground took my breath away. The changing leaves, the crisp cool air; I always knew it was time for pumpkins, apple cider, hay rides and the mysteries of the spiritual world. According to Earth-based folklore: on Halloween, the veil between the physical world and the spirit world is the thinnest. This must be why autumn always tweaked my curiosity.
My little heart was filled to the tippity top with a growing enchantment for nature, a curiosity for the unseen and the unknown, and a vigorous playfulness. With my cousins and sister, I loved playing flash light tag, hide and seek, four-square, cops and robbers, and other childhood games that involved hiding, strategy, creeping around and chasing. We would even rake up our gigantic annual pile of autumn leaves, and take turns charging with a run-start to pounce on it.
Even today, I still have the heart of a child. Once, I told my mom that I thought of myself as a spinning wheel, filled with velocity, vitality and momentum, always growing, changing and in action. If it isn't physically, it's spiritually or intellectually. Nature still charges me, as a power chord to an outlet. Earth is my physical body. Air is my communication through speaking and writing, and my thoughts. Water is my emotions, dreams, intuition and my spirituality. Fire is my inner drive that longs for love, trust and motivation. Nature symbolizes who I am, who I will continue to be and who I always have been.
Chapter 1: A Blessing or a Curse? Definitely a Blessing!
"Keep dreaming Kelly, keep dreaming..." wrote a fellow writer, Alfred DePew as he signed his book "Wild and Woolly: A Journal Keeper's Handbook"-a book that I considered a "needed" want because of my extensive journaling since I was in middle school. Those words resonated in my mind like a simple tune played over and over on a piano. After an innovative, inspiring day at a Fall Maine Writer's and Editor's retreat in Deer Isle, Maine. My mind's eye danced off into my childhood. My childhood was built colorful, one adventure leading to another.
Laying still in my bed, taking deep even breaths, the rush of the ocean lulled me to sleep. After one wave crashes, another one builds in the horizon, rising as it approaches the shore. If the salty water collides against a large rock, the water trickles around the edges while the rest ineluctably splashes against the rock creating a misty white foam.
I always thought of life this way, a cycle. The moon also illustrates this. The new moon appears to be invisible. As nights go by, it becomes visible, sliver by sliver until a full moon appears. After, the moon begins shrinking smaller, smaller and smaller until there is another new moon.
Common for a woman who happens to be blessed with a mild form of autism, these natural cycles strike as extraordinary. Autism is notorious for blessing its' survivors with extremely high sensitivity and a very keen sense of perception. Autistic children and adults can sense those subtle details like soft music in the distance or emotions that people try to hide. Because of high sensitivity for the physical world, it is very common for autistic survivors to have sensitivities the spiritual world clearly as well. There are many studies working to try to prove this right now.
When the doctors diagnosed me with high function autism, my mom and dad were not surprised. My parents noticed that I wasn't developing as quickly as other children. When my father's sister Debbie babysat me as a baby and as a toddler, she also noticed that I was developing slower than most children.
Mom brought me to a few doctors before I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. As soon as she found out, the doctor helped her to organize a therapy routine. The doctors paid their time coming to the house to give me therapy: occupational, speech, and physical. For the most part, because the therapy started when I was two, I was able to catch up with other children my age, although I still struggled socially.