Cat's paw prints on a snowy outdoor stairway.

Sub-zero weather and my cat ventures out. No wonder felines have nine lives. My cat’s only three and she’s on her eighth life.

Her snowprints remind me of how we all leave impressions every day by our words, our actions, our silence. Sometimes our impact is small, even unnoticed. Other times we do something bold, outside of the safe zone.

Reading the recently-published young adult novel, Agnes at the End of the World, I reeled from the impact of Kelly McWilliams’ bold writing and narrative. McWilliams carves out a genre-defying story that begins in the uncomfortable life of The Handmaid’s Tale and moves into our contemporary world while challenging our values and beliefs.

The young Agnes loves her home of Red Creek until her beliefs are shattered upon learning she lives within a cult dominated by the rules of a false prophet fighting his own fears. McWilliams’ novel weaves faith, values, connectivity, forgiveness, and life’s purpose within the complexity of her plot and characters.

Her blog states that she’s a “mixed-race writer who has always gravitated towards stories about crossing boundaries and forging new identities.”

Isn’t that what we’re all attempting? To forge out renewed identities as we age, grow, suffer, celebrate. Be more compassionate with others who don’t share our beliefs. Be more accepting of those who live differently, choose differently. To sense the connective spirit, the omniscient God bonding our global community. All living beings, creatures, plants, trees, and waters are connected—no matter their evolving or stagnant condition.

What will remind us that the steps we take leave an impact in this fragile life? A Fitbit? A Smartwatch? The sun, stars, snow, spring flowers? What will help us grow more mindful of our footprints, words, actions, silence?

Maybe for you, it’s walking on trails, jogging on sidewalks, riding bike paths, staring at stars or the stages of the moon. Besides all of these, we can discover authors and illustrators who take our breath away and leave us looking a life and ourselves a little bit differently, a little bit lighter, a little bit better.

So, if we’re inclined to venture out in whatever weather we face today, remember that unlike my cat, we only have one life to live. Let’s make an impact with the steps we take.

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Marsha Elyn Wright
Bursts of belly-laughs. Raised eye-brows. Teary trickles. Heart tugs. Grumbly mutters and more. Good storytelling sparks emotions and memories in us. It connects cultures and generations. The best words create melodies on a page we can sing reading aloud. These story songs expand, challenge, affirm, and delight us. My hope is that my storytelling creates this magic for you.


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