This Lenten season I’ve been trying to put my words on paper more often, and have been revisiting some old pieces of poetry to rework them and get my mind working again. This is for my parents.
My father burned 4 trees this season, the winter
unrelenting in its fury. The wood stove seizing any life
left from the logs, forcing heat out of bark and sap,
moisture cracking out of the crevices, echoing
inside the cast iron berth that hulks under
the mantle’s gaze.
You can smell the woodsmoke before you can see
the house. The trees funnel everything- the smoke,
the racket of spring peepers, the light at the end of day.
Sun and moon rise over the same mountain, cyclic,
like life in this hollow. Summers spent tending the earth,
winters spent burning pieces of it- the land keeping us.
evening walks with my parents are pretty definitive of my adult life at home- catching the golden hour & chatting in the cooler moments of MD summer.
Sun catches the tassels of corn fields, heat rises from the road and the stone walls lining our way & birds make their way to their evening roosts. Last night I gathered wildflowers along the way, naming them & their sweet familiarity.
never stop chasing the sun.
When I was young, my family used to pack up the mini-van, or Suburban (as the years went on), and make our way into the mountains to Rocky Gap State Park. RGSP is beautifully set on the banks of Lake Habeeb, near Cumberland, Maryland. We packed bikes and the canoe, s’mores fixings and fleece jackets and set up camp for a few days. I have the best memories of swimming in the lake, canoeing to “secret coves”, cooking over the fire and watching star shows in the field near the site. We took friends up for time in the woods- always building forts in the woods while our parents relaxed by the fire. My father once lost our car keys in the lake when they fell out of his bathing suit pocket, so of course, we have lots of funny stories from this place of beauty as well.
To return to a place so full of memories as an adult holds a special kind of nostalgia. I was so grateful for time apart last week- time to sleep in, to cook and eat together, to brighten my hair under the August sun, to laugh with dear friends on the shores of the lake, watching the sun sink into the distance.
The five of us are very soon headed in very different directions, so it was a huge blessing to spend time together in a place where our phones were quickly forgotten in the car and the skies reached out in all directions. We hiked through the “gorge” and splashed in the waterfall at the base of the dam. We saw deer and foxes, and shivered our way through hours in the cool lake water.
There is always time to be busy- remember to take time apart. Shout to the sunset, skip stones til your fingers are sore, run your fingers through the sands of a lake, laugh in the firelight, and always stop for Sheetz at the end of any adventure.
Thank you to these sweet friends for always making time for one another.
This week has been a troubling one for our world, and it’s only Tuesday. I am deeply troubled by so much of what is happening around the globe, but am especially terrified by the news of blatant police brutality from Ferguson, MO. May we all try to do better, every day, to care for those around us and to fight for justice in this world.
My gratitude this week:
for beautiful friends, sunset colors and creating art together.
for bike rides to one of my favorite little towns (and the crucial halfway donut stop!)
for the chance to do my yoga practice outside, beneath the sweeping trees of our yard.
and for adventure that is always out there.
Be brave, sweet friends. What are you thankful for this week?
Whenever I find myself at home for awhile, my favorite activity is to get out into the woods I hold so dearly. My parents taught my sister and I to appreciate the Earth by getting out into it and taking care to notice it’s beauty. My father and I drove to a little known access point in northern Washington County to hike the Thurston Griggs trail to the MD section of the Appalachian Trail. The weather was surprisingly cool for late July which certainly helped us in the mile long trek up the mountain to the main trail.
I have always found solace in the mountains. I am thankful for the quiet, the warmth of sun through the trees and the cliff faces that give way to beautiful views. This section of the AT is calm and relatively easy as it bridges the mountain tops of Maryland.
I often feel most at peace when I am using my body to it’s fullest potential- climbing over rocks and feeling bark beneath my fingers. I am so thankful to have grown up near such beautiful places!
(The view pictured here is looking southwest from Blackrock Outlook.)