Artichoke Flowers and Grown-Up Wings

This morning, I woke up early. The house hummed quietly; light peeked in through gray clouds and white blinds. If I was silent enough, I could just reach my book without waking the others, pull the covers up close, and capture that dreamy, waking-up-moment all to myself. 
And then, I read this poem.

by Joseph Hutchison
O heart weighed down by so many wings

Such a simple line; but it woke me up instantly. This was me.

In these years after my PhD, I've done a lot of exploring within my own heart. Who am I? Who do I want to be? Somehow, after more than a decade of focused scientific training, it took a cluster of cancer to open me back up. And, over time, I've gained wings. I have a feeling now that I can do anything - I can write and make pictures and still be a scientist and a great mother and friend. I'm my 8 year old self again. I'm free.

But I'm not 8 anymore, and sometimes grown-up freedom is heavy; options can weigh on a heart. Can I do this, and still be that? Can I make choices, and then change my mind? Where the hell is this path taking me?

I guess the thing to remember about artichokes is this: left to their own devices, the heart develops into something more.


  1. Grown up wings seem to be made of heart muscle rather than the feathery wings of youth. Every beat requires thought as to the consequences for not only yourself, but others as well. The important thing is to never, ever, stop letting your heart grow and to let the beats ring out triumphantly to inspire others to live their dreams too.


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