(01/14/2012)
Kimberly Butler and her children reside on a mountaintop farm overlooking Glenville. Their family includes a menagerie of animals including, Wilbur, the mini pig who thinks he is man of the house. You can reach her at kimbutler@frontiernet.net kimbutler@frontiernet.net

By Kimberly D. Butler

Hello again! It's been a long time, my friends. Maybe too long. A lot has happened in my life since we last chatted. More than I could possibly share with you within the space of this column.

We used to talk about the snake pit (that old shack up the holler I was NEVER supposed to live in); the trials of moving my family back to the country from suburbia; and, most importantly, how a little Mountain Therapy would "tune me up," as my Dad would often quip.

Little did I know then, that a tidal wave of change was about to wash over us. My lingering health issues turned out to be a devastating bone infection that kept me fighting for my life for months, and then burdened me with rebuilding my ability to walk and function fluently. That was hampered by a move to another county, a lingering divorce, a loss of financial assets, a gut-wrenching revelation of who my friends really were, the closing of a hard-earned business, and a mother's worst nightmare - having to watch her children adjust painfully as reality swept away the very foundation of their lives.

Eventually (or what seemed like eternity when you are drying up emotionally), as time worked its subtle magic, some silver linings emerged. Change also brought us to a new house, a new address, an expanded support group, and most profoundly, a new sense of independence for myself.

How ironic, that my last Mountain Therapy column back in 2009, was celebrating 25 years of marriage to a high school sweetheart, and how proud I was of our ability to "keep it together" all that time.

A new perspective

One of my favorite thinkers and writers, Henry David Thoreau, said "It's not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves."

Unfortunately, I had to figure that one out the hard way! But, I have leaned on that wisdom often these last few months, and it has become the basis for my new life. One without boundaries and endless possibility. It is now up to me to write the manuscript of my tomorrow, just on my own this time around. My children are counting on me to do it thoughtfully.

And, my network of supporters are "watching" and "waiting" and "expecting" me to pull through this with bells on. So, it's time to put on "my big-girl panties" as my good friend J.C. advises, and move ahead of my past. "Learn to deal with it," he says. He also reminds me, whether I like it or not, I was born to be a leader, not a follower. Another friend often reminds me that I am a fighter and I am not allowed to quit.

For now, I'm learning to carve out a new existence in these hills. It happens to be on top of the mountain this go around, where the sun shines freely and the view rolls on forever. A daily reminder that Mother Nature will help heal my wounds, by following her lead of embracing perpetual change.

Fate might have taken my breath away, but somehow the powers above left me a faint pulse. Albeit just strong enough to keep me alive and thinking and wondering and planning and now creating. And, in my usual fashion, I plan to do it in a loud, boisterous way. One of rock and roll's greatest songwriters, Neil Young, once quoted, "Tis better to burn out, than to fade away "

I believe Karma intended me to burn out, because my fabric won't let me just fade away. So, here I am again, with a whole new perspective and attitude - and a renewed sense of fortitude - ready to try another round of this "Mountain Therapy."

Many of you asked me, "When are you going to write again?" My answer was always, "Don't know if I'm in the right frame of mind yet. Not sure if I'm ready."

Well, ready or not, it finally seems like the time might be right. So, in the next few months I will be tackling my old fears, setting new goals and learning to live as hysterically as possible! There are lots of new entries on my Bucket List that I want to share with you, my Two Lane Livin' family. We're going to have a lot of fun (and hopefully shed a few tears, too) along the way, and you get to almost assuredly see me make light (a.k.a. A FOOL) of myself.

Yes, before he passed away a few years ago, my father used to tell me I could use a little "Mountain Therapy" when life had me down. Whether I succeed or not, he would be proud that I am once again taking a stab at it. And, whatever happens in my tomorrow, I know it will be filled with GOOD people all around me, and that in itself will be the best therapy my children and I can hope for.


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