Since she was a little girl, she loved exploring the woods. She would wander along the dry riverbed, looking at the rocks, the trees, the bugs, the squirrels. Every piece of nature was a mystery to be solved, a puzzle to be put together. And who didn’t like mysteries and puzzles?

Well, she knew some who didn’t but found their company lacking. Instead, she loved to spend time with those who were curious, who always wanted to know more. Those who seemed almost captivated when she found herself rambling on about the latest thing she was discovering. Those whose questions helped hone her understanding and were unafraid to share their own curious wonderings with her.  

As she became a teenager, her wondering mind began wandering. She found her curiosity piqued by the feelings and behavior of the people around her. She wanted to understand others, not to be able to manipulate them into doing what she wanted, but to be able to love them better. She often felt that those around her were hurting. And more than anything, she wanted to be able to understand this. Because, if she could understand it, there was hope to make it better.

Little did she know then that understanding was such a small piece of the puzzle, something that was often unattainable and really less necessary than she thought. Instead, the exploration itself, the sitting, the questioning, the lingering in the discomfort – that was where the magic happened. Little did she know that each fateful encounter would bring her to where she would be 20 years later. She thought she knew everything then, but really she was just skimming the surface.

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