Winter mirage on the Western Minnesota Prairie, 2017.

To be kept in the dark produces anxiety in most people.

We all want to know what’s going on, to see clearly, and to feel capable of accurate assessments — especially related to our desires for security, affection and control.

Darkness literally keeps us from seeing.

Or so it seems.

Maybe it’s just that we can’t see on our own terms which, for many of us can feel like we’ve been struck blind, or — in the case of my first winter storm on the Western Minnesota Prairie — dead.

I knew snow was coming, but it was only November. What was all the fuss?

I closed my eyes on fair skies and went ahead with my morning meditation. Thirty minutes later, I opened them to snow-caked windows and a power outage. A couple of hours later, the water stopped running. By the time I decided to call the neighbors for help, their land line was dead.

I quickly realized that all my assumptions — based on an urban landscape and large metro infrastructure — were no good.

As the sun went down and the temperature inside the house dropped, I put on more layers and poured a glass of wine. I covered Stella on her bed with a blanket and crawled under an extra layer of down.

This winter landscape cared nothing about my previous experience in marketplace engagement or event scenario planning. I was in the dark when it came to navigating my little house on the prairie’s first blizzard.

In this darkness not of my own choosing with no means to resolve it, I began to understand the gift in losing sight might be learning to see things in new ways.

In this way, my heart was prepared to embrace the wild mystery of the prairie landscape and begin to understand that “though I had eyes to see, I did not see.”

About the Author Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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