Walk In The Woods
#88 Insights Gained
In the summer of 2006, my husband, Dan, and I made a dramatic change. We moved from California to Olympia, WA, where my brother and his wife lived. The four of us were going to wander Puget Sound on our boats and play together. That plan was short-lived. He developed leukemia and died in 2009.
Three years later, we returned to CA. Our “playmate” was gone. We wanted to be closer to our children because Dan had health issues, and I longed for more sunshine. That turned out to be a good decision; he recently died from complications of COVID and dementia.
We built a house next to a protected wooded preserve. Deer ate the petunias in our garden and peered in the windows. We took many walks in “our woods.” After we left, I never missed Olympia or the house, but I missed the woods.
A couple of weeks ago, I revisited the house and walked in the woods again - the first time in 10 years. During my walk, I left a small memento of Dan and brought back a small token from the woods.
It was a memory-filled and sad, but healing trip.
The house looked older, but the woods were the same - well, maybe the trees were taller and the homes more hidden from the path. But it was still - “our woods.”
I gained two insights from my walk. The first insight was that some things are constant. As a fellow writer said when writing about her husband’s death, “our love is breathing still.” Even though my husband of 60 years is physically gone, constants remain in life - maybe, our love is breathing still - just differently.
The second insight had to do with a hill in the woods. Ten years ago, it was a strenuous trek - even with Dan’s helping hand. That day I walked the hill with great ease - by myself. Maybe, I can do more now than I could then.
Intellectually, I’m not sure why the woods were so important to me - then and now. I’m also not sure why that trip was so important, but my heart says they were.
I do know that the woman who walked in the woods three weeks ago is very different from the one who walked there years ago. She has weathered many storms and grown enormously because of them.
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