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Steve Jobs, Nancy Shevitz, Sara Snow, and an "Eat Pray Love" Hope Chest

Posted Jan 08 2012 6:32am
The stark beauty of the apple trees of winter took my breath away, and as my family went inside the Mercier Orchards retail shop in Blue Ridge, Georgia, I traipsed out into the orchard to see the trees up close.  Gnarly and crooked, they try to stretch straight upward but can't, their need to twist and bend overpowering them, their intrinsic traits dictating their destiny.

And so, perhaps, it goes with all of us.  A man with no care for what others think and only a burning desire for design perfection changes the world (and is the subject of a book I literally cannot put down, yes, while nibbling the apples from Blue Ridge).

A woman (my friend, Nancy, who is David's sister) with a life-threatening disease laughs in the face of it and prevails, her infectious spirit intact, her eyes filled with the joyful embrace of each moment's power, and digs into dirt pulsating with life to plant for others at our food pantry garden. (And, by the way, Nancy is about 100 pages ahead of me in the Steve Jobs book and loving it as well.)
And arguably the world-expert in green living, Sara Snow, the daughter of Pattie and Tim Redmond (founder of what is now Eden Foods and several other major natural foods companies), exudes her generous and charismatic personality when she open-heartedly recommends my book in this video on her website .  

This act of complete kindness, so true to Sara's nature, overwhelms me as Sara has been a role model to me for years for two reasons: (1) personally, she provides a strong example for me to show my daughters the health, beauty, poise, knowledge, and confidence that could result from growing up immersed in a healthy, natural lifestyle (as she was), and (2) professionally, she is an experiential journalist who likes to get hands-on in her subject matters, as I do.  Here is what I wrote about Sara in 2007 , and more recently .
When I first fell upon her show on The Discovery Network, traveling around the world to cover stories was still far away in my life.  Now, Sara is staying home for awhile with her baby, and I am getting closer to that day when my innate trait of insatiable curiosity overcomes me and I head out beyond my current two-hour radius, pen and notebook and camera in hand (or perhaps an Apple product, of which I currently own none).  
In fact, my daughters gave me the gift of a gorgeous cardboard suitcase recently that, my older daughter told me, is like the hope chest in Eat Pray Love that the writer filled with National Geographics instead of linens. I have already started filling it with research for stories I'd like to cover or ones I wish I wrote (like this excellent story about the first olive orchard in hundreds of years in Georgia, running in the current issue of Atlanta magazine).  I have already started filling it with gnarly and crooked dreams, and passionate design details, and the joyful embrace of each moment's power, and the intention of generosity and kindness.  I've started filling it with Steve and Nancy and Sara, and my daughters, and my friend Betty, the new Global Blogging Ambassador for Heifer International , who is a few years ahead of me on this journey (and with whom I shimmied under a fence yesterday--don't ask).
It isn't time yet, except for an occasional dip into elsewhere, such as my Sweet Grass Dairy article and my trip to the Battery Park Urban Farm and the High Line in New York.  But seasons change.  And, one day, once again, the need to go will be greater than the need to stay, for all of us.  And we then stand there faced with the stark beauty of our dreams, and we hear the calling of our destiny.  And we choose, in that moment, whether or not to bend and twist.  Whether or not to seek perfection in the moment.  Whether or not to laugh and embrace and share.  Whether or not to open the box, or to leave it under the bed.  Whether or not to fully live the next stage in the life we are meant to live.
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