Mt Maude on the Superior Hiking Trail
This last June, I did a lot of hiking and thinking. One hike I really wanted to do was up to an old fire lookout tower called Mount Maude on the Superior Hiking Trail. I found the trail after a few wrong turns on the road, parked my car and started up the incline. The trail is pretty deep into the woods, but there was a brisk wind so no bugs!
As I walked up Mount Maude, I thought about June 2014. It was a really tough time for me and I was losing hope! One day I put a large piece of paper up on a wall in my studio, thinking that I would do a painting. Although I never painted on it, one bad night when I felt very alone, I drew a little doodle of a squirrel on the paper. In the squirrel’s speech bubble, I wrote, “Dear Nancy, Do not give up!” So now whenever I put a squirrel in any of my doodles, you know he is there for moral support.
Thanks to artists and writers
A few weeks later, my pal illustrator David Geister invited me out for a beer and said he had something for me. It turned out that the children’s literature community had all teamed up to raise some money for me. I’m not sure who led the effort, but thank you! I was stunned, humbled, thankful and, frankly, a little embarrassed. David and I talked about the gift through a couple of beers. I felt like crying, but back then I just could not let myself cry. There was no time for emotion. And if I did start crying, would I ever be able to stop?
I was given this wonderful gift from artists and writers, who just like me, live off speaking fees and wait for royalty checks. It is not an easy way to make a living. I think of all these wonderful people who helped me each morning now when I post my daily doodle. With the money, I bought a new laptop computer that makes posting doodle much easier and quicker than with my old computer.I meant to write thank you notes and carried them around with me for about six months. I only got a couple done before I lost the mailing list on one of my visits to Barry. I feel bad about not getting those notes out, but I promise to give back to others in some way, some day.
I was lucky that I got the laptop computer when I did because a few weeks later the IRS came again and cleaned out my bank account. Had I waited, I would still be using my old computer to write this post. The day they took my money, I finally did cry while a good pal tried to console me. I discovered then crying is okay — and I do eventually stop!
Here it is a year later; I did not give up and I am hiking up to Mount Maude in the middle of nowhere. At the top of the hill is a really old lookout tower with many missing steps on the way up. I wondered, for just a moment, if I should I be climbing the rickety tower on my own. Then I realized that I am not really alone because I have so many loving and supportive people behind me. So up I went, climbing that old tower slowly and holding tight to the railings. When I got to the top, it seemed like the whole world opened up to me — and in reality, my world has expanded. I am so happy that I have never given up because life is pretty awesome – as was the view from the fire tower! Thank you all so very much!