do not sit under the forgetting tree//when the first people came onto this land

much has happened since i last wrote. i feel like i say that a lot  but it is true since life never really stops, no matter how hard i try to make it do so. my last few days in Guatemala were dramatic–filled with a great deal of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone in a way that caused me to grow, but as i returned home i remembered how hard holding onto that growth can be when you return to the same place you left. i have felt this way before–after AMIGOS, after Europe. it is a feeling that I know fades with time but still hurts just as much in the moment.

a feeling I fear will always be strong is the feeling of loss I feel towards my first home: Bass Lake. I traveled a joyful 5 hour car trip to the Northwoods with my mom. I was singing Cottey songs when we drove over the border, into Burnett County, for the last time. I remember the moment clearly–i think I will forever, just as the moment where I was fighting back tears and then the brown bear ran out in front of us from this summer, from June, is etched into my mind. I had to go this time. Of course, I didn’t have to but I needed to–not only for Grandma and Grandpa and Mom and other members of my family who were being helped through my helping packing and sort, but because I needed to go there and see the house, all closed up, all empty, all ready to go. As much as it hurt my heart to walk around the empty rooms, it made my heart a little lighter than it has been feeling since June because as I walked the rooms of my first home, I realized that this empty place was no longer mine. It was missing so many pieces that my home, my Bass Lake, contained–the books, the beds, the boat, the stuffed animals, the tables, the quilt on the wall, the pictures. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you but it doesn’t have to. I needed to see the house like that, so it didn’t feel so ripped away from my heart, so I knew the others were leaving too. It is a hard feeling to put into words since I thought seeing it like that would only hurt but instead, somehow, it helped. Don’t get me wrong–my heart is still broken. It weeps. My eyes cry too. But I knocked on the wall and shut the door to the bedroom I always stayed in. I looked at the spot in the sand and smiled. The lake know it holds my heart. It will guard it well. That I do not doubt. It always has.

And so here I am, after processing all of that, after having traveled via plane for the 3rd time in 3 weeks, after being hugged and hugged by my Cottey sisters, feeling….relaxed? calm? I am not sure. But here I am, none the less, struggling to not sit under the forgetting tree.


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