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“Creative minds always have been known to survive any kind of bad training.”
                                                        —Anna Freud


   As the events I have experienced and witnessed over the years ferment in my mind, I overlook the mist-shrouded Cascades. To the northeast, Mt. Baker’s snow-covered glaciers hide the volcano within. Beyond Seattle’s horizon, Mt. Rainier peaks. The cedars around my home are solemn, and a deer grazes, unafraid, in the near distance.

   I stare into the forest, looking far, yet near at the same time. My vision blurs. I close my eyes. This isn’t a simple, straightforward story. Real life stories seldom are. Everyone has personal trials. Some experience being left at the altar. Lonely Person lives a life searching for Ms. Right, yet dies a lone bachelor. Two People suffer marital hardship and divorce, when suddenly Long Lost High School Sweetheart appears for the happily ever after. Others have True Love pass away, being left to carry on alone, heartbroken. It is so much more complicated than that. Prior to this incarnation, we must have signed up for the Advanced Course. This story is a fine, complex wine, the ingredients of which evolve into an end result distinct from their beginnings.

   I open my eyes. Rhododendrons, reflecting vibrant color, brighten the surrounding greenscape. I focus on a petal, heavy with dew, and see a sunlit prism.

   I would never have lived in this majestic place if it were not for the man with whom I have spent most of my life.

   I rise, taking in a breath of crisp air. “It’s time. We should go now,” I say.