“What if Heidi went blind? What would you do if she went blind?”

These questions ran through Scott’s mind one afternoon while sitting on a park bench. It surprised him, the heaviness of these questions. He had been dating me for such a short while, too short to have thoughts like this land in his head with a thud. He pondered and weighed them coming to the conclusion that he’d want to stick around, to see how I would handle it.

Weeks later he received a phone call that echoed the once seemingly random questions which then became otherworldly, planted by God.

Looking back I wonder if we were being prepared for what was coming. My right foot suddenly aching, developing a limp from running; Scott gently washing the sand off my feet as they rested on a rock at Jericho Beach days before the crash; Scott holding up the camera at the beach while I, tanned in short shorts, squirmed at my photo being taken, that photo later framed and placed bedside at the hospital; Scott and I getting serious fast; calling my friend Ang hours before the crash telling her something felt very wrong and I couldn’t put my finger on it. We were defensive about what was coming, although there was nothing we could have done. It was unseen and coming at lightning speed. We were tensing, catching our breath, and bracing for impact.

I’m writing more these days. Not everything makes it to the blog. Some things will be for ‘the book’ only. I met with some of the brilliant women I took my writing workshop with at a coffeehouse on Main St in the city on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I read a piece of writing that is going to be the very beginning to my book. A prologue, I think. But, it doesn’t matter what it is right now. I have a beginning to my book.

As I’m writing, memories find me in my car, in the shower, while I’m walking. And I am forced to see each memory from a different angle, light falling on it in a new way. I’m viewing my life from a writer’s perspective. It’s been incredible. Sometimes hard, sometimes tedious, but mostly invigorating. How will I express this thought or tackle that time? When I began I wasn’t sure where this venture would take me. Could I pull this off? Would people shake their heads in disbelief and under their breath say, who is she kidding? Maybe they are, but I don’t care. I feel alive. I am all glory-be and coming home after years of suffering with homesickness. I’m learning that when I trust my instincts the stars align. And this writing thing? It’s a hunch, a stirring I have to follow.

So, I’m reminded of the days leading to the crash and I see it, instinct. Something one might only catch in hindsight, but it’s there, palm prints of it all over everything. You could check off each experience as coincidence, but I don’t think it is. Something inside of us, outside of us crooks a finger and whispers to come a little closer, listen.

Instinct isn’t always meant for warning and danger. Shivers running up and down your spine can thrill you, joy is on its way. It can move you to the right place or get you the hell out. It serves as guide and messenger. I’m not a touchy-feely type. Don’t ask me to hold hands and stand in a circle connecting as women-kind. But, I was tired and grew tired of being tired. I’m listening and I’m no longer tired.

swept up
in my friend Lesley’s photography!
She’s officially just starting out, but she’s been toting a camera with her forever. To the park, the beach, to every Halloween, and each birthday. She’s got an eye for this, a natural. I took this collage off of her blog. (To do this collage and all of her photos justice you need to pop over to her blog. It’s better over there.) She snapped these ridiculously gorgeous photos of our kids at the park before ‘back to school’. Our kids meaning mine, hers, and Jenn’s, although a couple of Jenn’s kids are missing here. (The blonde one on the right is my girl, Annie. And my boy, Ben, is in the purple shirt.) Our kids have been playing, giggling and getting into trouble since they came crashing into the world. They’re family.

17 thoughts on “instinct

  1. Anna See

    Heidi, I liked the way you described those feelings. I have experienced similar instances, but only recognized them later. I like the way you wrote "we were tensing, catching our breath, waiting for impact." WOW!

    Put me in line to read and cherish your book!

  2. karenp

    heidi… i love this post… so good.

    but… i keep saying that for all your posts!!


    you are brightly beautiful in every way.

  3. Judy Schwartz Haley | CoffeeJitters.Net

    Interesting how memory works – sometimes hiding things from you when you're not able to deal with them, and revealing or reminding you of things when you are ready.

  4. amisare waswerebeen

    I've had that feeling many times. Thankfully, a few times, it has saved me from a mistake or helped me to prepare for something unknown. But, like you said, hindsight is always 20-20.

  5. Nicole

    Brings back a lot of memories. I can't wait to read your book Heidi. You amaze me always w/ your words.
    Keep writing.
    I cannot believe how big Annie is. She is stunning!

  6. Anonymous

    The only thing I'm shaking my head at and wondering "who is she kidding?" about is the fact that you would ever remotely pause to think that anyone would ever shake their heads & mutter, who is she kidding? about the book venture you are undertaking!
    Your writing, as always, is refreshing & truthful. I am always left with thoughts to ponder & things to chew on after reading another entry, and I check frequently, eagerly awaiting the next piece!
    Thank you for sharing Heidi.


  7. kendalee

    Instinct – we ignore it at our peril, don't we? And I agree, it signals when we need to change paths and when we're on the right one… we just need to listen to it. I'm SO glad you listened to yours Heidi and that you are following your "writing thing". The world is going to be richer for having your story in it, and no-one is better equipped to tell it than you!

    The photographs of the children made me smile. Beautiful!

  8. Kate Coveny Hood

    I love you Heidi. Do you know I happened upon your "home" page while clicking through to your blog and JUST watched the clip of the speech you gave. I loved it and loved seeing you talking – giving a living face to what I've been reading all this time. Pictures just aren't the same.

    How could anyone every shake their head in derision over your writing? It's so inspiring. And not in that sappy blog love way. I would read all of these posts as part of a book and still feel just as moved. More. So finish that book already!

  9. Intense Guy

    Your daughter is beautiful – and your son is a cute one!

    I'm happy to see an entry that isn't as… "gristly" as they have been… You write with such power I have to take a deep breath sometimes and let my mind move on.

    I see you too – think there is something on the periphery of our scenses.. just out of reach and not quite in focus – we think we see warning signs and hear warning bells.. but… can put our finger on them – for they aren't (what we call) "real". But I think those that are attuned to them – can see, feel, smell, hear, and taste them…

    The big question is this… if you hadn't had the accident.. would your daughter and son be who they are today? No.. they would be very different people – and I know you wouldn't trade 'em for anything.

  10. Suz Broughton

    I'm so happy to read this. It sounds like you've turned that corner with writing. It's energizing you now instead of zapping you of energy.
    I'm going to be the very first person to buy your book.

  11. Colette

    Faith, love, belief and blessings Heidi! Why do I have this feeling that you’ll be on Oprah’s best selling book list?

    1. heidi

      I meant to reply to you ages ago! Life. It gets in the way sometimes. I wanted to say thank you so much for coming over to this space and for your comment. I was just so thrilled to see your name in my comments list. 🙂

  12. christy

    Yeah! So happy that you’re feeling good about the writing process (again!?). And so happy for you that you’ve written the beginning. Your way with words is remarkable and I can’t wait to read your book!

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