It's June, 2020, and as I sit with two of my best friends at an outdoor patio dinner, I explain the story to them.
"Look," I say, "I'll never tell anyone else this because I know that it makes me sound crazy." ( Lies, because I'm about to tell you right now. The whole messy story of how and why I bought a clothing shop during the COVID pandemic of 2020. )
Let me start by saying, it's all because of the beavers! A few months back, was it May, or was it April? Sometime during one of those months that ended up turning into one, long 'Groundhog Day' my husband John came home from a walk and said that he had spied a beaver dam under a bridge near our home. Now I have to be honest, I had not up until this point been interested in beavers, or their dams. Sure, I thought they were "neat" but they honestly never seemed that special to me. Until that moment, when John told me about the nearby dam, did I suddenly find myself OBSESSED with them! This was truly a new interest for me. Whether it be quarantine induced, or not, I couldn't stop visiting, and thinking about this beaver dam!
(You know, my kids have just realized that I'm writing about this, and have advised me to "keep it to myself." I remember being young, and what it felt like to want to maintain my dignity. But I've birthed 3 children, and my dignity left me long ago. So imma continue on with the beaver story. Besides, this is the REAL story. I honestly couldn't make this stuff up.)
As a result of my new beaver interests I have done a little bit of research on them. In my opinion they are quite amazing creatures. Considered rodents, which typically is a bit of a black mark on a species, they have so many other redeeming qualities that you can almost forget about the yucky rodent classification altogether. Allegedly (which I will say because I ain't no scientist) the largest, not man-made structure that can be seen from outer space is a massive beaver dam in Northern Canada! Not only do they build amazing structures, they are also an integral part of the eco-system. Beavers work tirelessly, every day, to maintain the dams they build and coincidentally create marshes and homes for lots of other wildlife to thrive in. Plus, they use their adorable, tiny, beaver hands to pack the mud they use to build said dams. I could literally watch hours of video footage, of them swimming around, cutting down trees, and building.
Buuuuut, what does this have to do with mint + maple you ask?
Let me tell you . . .
When I received a message from my friend, Natalie the shop owner, asking me if I would be interested in possibly taking over her store, I almost soiled myself. I had suddenly, during a time of serious uncertainty, been offered an opportunity that was incredibly in-line with who I am, and what my dreams are. I had recently lost my job as an office administrator in January, 2020, and had been hired at an awesome, new, full time job that would have already started, if weren't for COVID. At that point I was waiting for the pandemic "sitch" to die down (ha!) so that I could start my new job. Needless to say, I had a big decision to make.
This is one of those stories where the main character, (ummmm, that's me. More of a Greg Heffley, then a Holly Golightly) has to decide between what is practical, and what is magical. At first I thought, I can do both! Stay in the "safe zone' and work on my dream part time. But my sister who is often wise told me that, "you get out of something what you put into it."
And that's a saying for a reason . . . because it is very, very true.
And here is where the beaver comes in. Real talk: I'm often a person that lacks confidence and is constantly looking to the universe for signs that I'm on "The Right Path." Connecting to, and following my life's purpose has always been important to me. To know, if you will, that what I was doing is what I was meant to be doing in this life. Which oddly, I know, brings me back to the beavers. When I found myself deep in beaver lore, I didn't just read about them as a species and how they interact with their environment, I also looked into their spiritual meaning as a totem, or "sign." That is when I discovered that the beaver, symbolically, is "reminding you to act on your dreams to make them a reality." The moment I discovered this was one early morning, after a long, sleepless night, standing on the riverbank near the dam, I had done what any self respecting, modern woman would do - I "googled' it. As I read about the symbolism of the beaver, I knew that no matter how crazy it seemed to buy a clothing store in the middle of a pandemic, that I HAD to just go for it.
I suppose that one day I can tell this story, and end it with saying, "and the rest, is herstory!" But I'm not quite THERE yet. So instead I will end with this; whatever you believe about beavers . . . whether they remain a synonym for lady parts, a symbol of Canadian lore, or a funny looking rodent that builds super cool habitats, I will never forget the lesson that the universe showed to me about the way that I could find fulfillment in this life, despite this world and the fear we face living in a global pandemic society right now.