There are those singular events in our lives that are so significant that they are recorded with perfect accuracy as if they are still taking place somewhere in time. In an instant we can summon them and be living again inside that moment. They make an atomic imprint that is inescapable.

Sometimes those imprints are beautiful, some are traumatic, some are life changing, some are redefining, some are devastating, all are revealing.

Such an imprint exploded onto humanity in the year 2020 in the form of a world wide pandemic. It has changed us in some degree at an atomic level. For me, it has been an awakening of what it means to be human. To walk through adversity, embrace change and choose to feel.

During quarantine, I was home when the stay at home order went into place. After checking in with all my family, without anywhere to go, desperate for something I could control and because it’s impossible for me to sit still, I started to create. Like a mad scientist in my laboratory, I started throwing minerals into my massive 4 foot high pot of sculpture stew. I then went on a foraging expedition in my yard for substrate. What would express what I was feeling? Despair, uncertainty, doubt, fear? I gave it little thought as I let my hands gather whatever expressed that narrative.

I felt primitive as I dumped out my bin and started combing through the trove. Then I realized, everything I had collected was dead or discarded. The skeleton of a dead shrub, twigs with blossoms that never opened, broken branches, last winter’s burlap from the wrapped trees, widow screen, dislodged from it’s one absolute purpose inside it’s frame.

I had collected a menagerie of lost hope, unfulfilled potential, broken dreams, a discarded past and the vulnerability and fear of an unforeseen future. As I crafted the scaffolding frame, I was deep in thought about how I had let an external circumstance take away my hope. Would I be forever changed? Am I so easily broken?

I sub-merged the frame into the dark and deep stew and waited. What emerged, humbled me. The beauty that had formed demanded my apology. Nature had taken a heap of discarded hope and turned it into a magnificent work of art!

The lesson didn’t stop there. As I started to resin the piece, I miscalculated the volume and ended up short. I added a product I thought would be compatible and the thermogenic reaction that began was so intense I feared it would explode! I instantly started crafting my plea for forgiveness from my husband for blowing up our house and shaming myself for not owning a fire extinguisher!!!

Then something terrifying yet beautiful started happening. It started to boil from the bottom. Just at the moment I thought I would meet by certain doom amid destruction, the air bubbles tried to surface and were frozen inside the already hardening resin. The result is an event that is captured in it’s literal birth of existence, an “Atomic” event still in motion.

This was my “Atomic” moment. I had surrendered a bundle of despair into the stew of the dark and deep and had allowed nature to build something beautifully, meaningful on top of it. What I had witnessed would now be forever captured and part of me, happening for infinity, an imprinted event of perfect clarity.

I will allow myself to be sub-merged and my nature changed into something beautiful, better. Something more. I will not forget this self command.
Adversity doesn’t define character, it reveals it.

If nature could do that with a bundle of rubbish, what could it make of me?


P.S. I am happy to report, I am now the happy owner of multiple fire extinguishers!