You know how you just know when you’re moving into a new chapter of life? For me the sensation is akin to Mary Poppins’ declaration, “I shall stay until the wind changes.” That’s how it’s always felt for me, like the subtle but immediately noticeable scent the rain leaves when it strikes the pavement on a summer August afternoon and the next afternoon it’s raining autumn. 

I’m considering writing a book about the chapters of my life and wondering how many chapters one life is allotted? And what might my chapter headings read?

1. The Early Years

2. Educated — Striking Out On My Own

3. What Russia Taught Me at 21

4. Marriage, Motherhood and Misbeliefs

5. Divorce Part 1 — What I Left Behind

6. Nancy’s Couch

7. Divorce Part 2 — What I Created

8. Learning to Live Without

9. How Grief Taught Me to Parent Myself

10. On Death, Dying and Being Myself

Reading that out loud to myself is an interesting energetic progression from up to down, to backtrack out of sheer curiosity, to leave me wondering at my own journey. What is the title of this next chapter? This chapter, whose imminent arrival was foretold on the first of the last winter days, spring and my day of birth beckoning me forward and toward them. 

Ocean basins, mountain ranges, islands, volcanoes, and earthquakes are all formed and/or occur because the ocean floors are continually moving. The moment of impact for those of us occupying the planet always seems sudden and unexpected, as if Mount St. Helens decided in that very 1980s May moment to spew her opinion up and out and down her own sides. But just as Piero Ferrucci reminds us that “The transformation has begun long before we become aware of it,” so, too, did Helen’s eruption on a Sunday not come about at her bedtime on the previous Saturday night, or even as she stretched her arms open on that transformational morning. It was just the moment a new chapter heading got assigned, but it certainly wasn’t the beginning of her book; nor would it be her ending, either. 

There is magma moving deep within my heart, beating out the rhythm of me. My chapters will continue to be written as I continue to erupt on the scene of this life I’m living, again and again.