human hieroglyphs on Squam Lake, September 2017
photo credit: AMY GRETCHEN
Earlier in the year, when winter was on the cusp of spring, I was sitting near to the water where my two favorite rivers meet. This special place, back home in Washington State, truly holds my heart. I was watching the immense amount of water surge past and noticing the small pea-green shoots of spring starting to break the surface of the soil.
I was sitting and writing in my journal about breaking my own heart…
photo credit: MEG FUSSELL
I’d spent the better part of a year at the Anake Outdoor School learning about and falling in love with the earth, especially the northwest. I felt like each black cottonwood tree was a witch-fingered sister and that the Oregon grape and all the conifers had been, at times, my only true companions during a considerably wet winter. I knew this area by the water like the back of my hand, having been here during all the weather elements and at most hours of the day and night. So I was asking myself,
“How could I possibly leave this place?”
Fast-forward six months to today in late September and I’m in Elizabeth’s lovely home in Providence, overwhelmingly held in inspiration and gratitude for being here. We open up our morning with a conversation around experiences that she’s had in her life and that I’ve had in mine that bring us into ‘harmony’, and from spending more and more time together we’ve noticed the many similarities that are bringing us in-sync. And whilst we’re talking, an image of a little painted turtle popped into my mind which gave me a new way of looking at that “loss” of leaving my beloved Pacific Northwest behind: turtles take their homes with them everywhere…
…and, as their shells aren’t very big,
they must truly choose the most important things
to carry with them and forsake the rest…
Rewind back to me at the river writing to myself, untangling the yarn-ball of thoughts about leaving my soul-place —new job! new house! new friends! new plants!— and as I pulled at this yarn-ball I realized that below all that was an intensity of love. I loved this river, I loved these plants, I loved the eagle that just soared southbound over the trees, and I loved the familiarity of the beaver who likes to do his work at dusk and dawn, of the great blue heron who taught me immense patience and stillness, of the tall grasses whom I watched grow so high they could cocoon me standing up. At the baseline of all of that was a deep-rooted love for all these things.
photo credit: AMY GRETCHEN
So today, and in the newness of my first blog post for Squam and in the newness of my first New England fall, I’ve opened my little turtle shell full of all the love grown, flowered and seeded back home in the northwest, and am planting it here. With intention setting for nurturing this little seed with compassion and support from a new and wonderful community, and with pure excitement! As it was said to me so many times at our recent fall gathering…
“What an adventure!”
…and what an adventure it is, indeed!
warmth & light,