I died in 2016, but that’s not what this post is about.

After 9 months of probing the dark wreckage of my crushed interior, I had to be done with the internal torment. It was killing me to keep going inward to understand what nobody on the outside had had the integrity or the courage to look me in the eyes and say.

The single most important job of a mom is to wake up every morning convinced that everyone has a purpose, little or big. I was barely convincing myself, much less anyone around me. I needed to find something … quick … to grab onto, to pull myself out of the hole so I could try again to live with faith in humanity.

I didn’t expect to stumble across a literal life rope from the universe. I was willing to stretch to take hold of the barest thread of inspiration.

On January 19th, 2017, a day before the most disheartening presidential inauguration in American history, I took my dogs to the arroyo northwest of Santa Fe, once more to walk off the pain and disbelief of the past year.

As we approached the end of our jaunt, just before our ascent to the high banks, a glint of intense light reported from the shadows flanking the last great bend in the wash. Propelled only by Shiny Object Curiosity, I trod toward the intermittent flash to find an assemblage of mostly rusty ephemera twisting on a hair-thin wire, strung from the branch of a cottonwood tree. A broken bottleneck hanging waist high was responsible for the periodic reflections of late morning sun, but it was the humble crowning element that grabbed me out of my disillusioned fog.

A dingy piece of custard-colored plastic, evidently broken from a mid-20th century container of household cleaning supplies, hung just at my eye level. It was graced with the vestiges of a one word decal.

I knew at once that it was the sign I’d been looking for – an uncomplicated directive:

wax.

Just wax.

Go forth and wax.