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I had half an hour. An after-school errand took longer than expected and I would beat them home by about thirty minutes. I could empty the dishwasher or maybe fold the clothes that had been sitting in the dryer for the last two days. That would be practical.

I didn’t feel like being practical.

The sun was shining. I had the window of my car down just a crack. Spring had not yet arrived but it was close enough I was starting to imagine it. After months and months of winter I could finally see relief coming, just around the corner.

I was suddenly desperate to be outside. I needed to feel the air on my cheeks, the wind in my hair. Forget the dishwasher, I was going to use my thirty minutes for something much more productive.

I bolted upstairs as soon as my key turned in the lock. I quickly changed into workout pants and a hoodie, not caring if they were the pants that made my butt look big or if the hoodie had a pasta sauce stain on the front. I was almost frantic in my hurry, frantic to get outside, everywhere else suddenly seeming claustrophobic and stifling.

A quick stop for my sunglasses, ipod, shoes and I hit the front step at a jog. Then I stopped, breathing deeply, and the most incredible feeling of peace settled over me.

Feet on ground.”

So strange that those words would come into my head right at that moment.

Feet on ground.”

It took me a minute to place them and then I smiled.

Jann.

Of course it would be Jann. She has always had the words when I could not find my own.

Feet on ground.”

The words so perfectly described the feeling of that moment. For so long I have been floundering, flailing, lost. There has been instability, uncertainty, unsteadiness. But in that instant it was gone. My feet were on the ground; planted firmly, steady, strong. All of the things I had feared would never be.

Heart in hand.

The next line of the song came to me as I started to walk, automatically turning down the street on my preferred route. I could feel a smile start to tickle the corners of my mouth in the same instant that tears began to form in my eyes.

Heart in hand.”

The lyrics are from one of my all-time favourite Jann Arden songs. I have probably listened to it hundreds of times, each time the words taking on a new meaning, somehow filing whatever cracks I had. I wonder what it’s like to know your words can heal. That at any moment something you created can change someone’s life; someone you have never met. I think that must be pretty amazing, for your words to add depth and meaning to someone’s world.

Heart in hand, facing forward, be yourself.”

And for the next twenty minutes I walked. I took deep breaths and inhaled the changing air. A little bit of winter and a little bit of spring. One foot in the past and one in the future.

Change.

And as I climbed the last hill that stood between me and my return home I felt a sob catch in my throat. But for the first time in so long it was not of sadness but rather of relief, understanding and hope.

Thank you for your words Jann, again and again and again.

Thank you.

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