What we need is here. And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye, clear. What we need is here. – Wendell Berry

I have two short, short weeks left in Oregon, which will be filled with cookie parties, dancing with whole hearts, and lots and lots of love spilled out. I am grappling with the idea that as soon as I go home I will revert to the person that I was before coming to this place. Isn’t that so opposite to the point of studying off-campus? Isn’t the purpose to go, explore, learn, and reflect? I have gone across the country, explored an entirely new ecosystem, learned with abandon, and now it’s time to reflect.

It’s hard not to feel that I need this place. I need this place to be the person that I have grown into here; The person who laughs and cries, who wanders and frolics and sits and listens, who truly thinks and writes in new languages.

To put four months of experience into words is unattainable. I simply don’t have the language to wrap up the experience of confronting nature, community, sustainability, and myself.

my cohort headed to town for the Halloween parade

This week I wrote…

I pushed it away and now I try to grasp it back again. Like the moon changes the tides. The moon. Run in the moon light. A full moon. A heist. A spin in the street. A zoom. A dance. A throw. A scream. A bandage made of dirt and leaves placed over my tender heart, with spoken words to quiet my swirling, my running.

Why did I think I could push a mountain out of my way? Why did I run? Why am I running again? Why am I scared?

I will grasp. I will hold on to anything I can.

I will start the wood stove again. I’ll wash the dishes to wash the dishes. I’ll make a loaf. I will take for granted the only time I have in my life to live intentionally, to live differently.

Read. Respond. Write. Discuss. Laugh. Cry.. Mourn…Weep.

How can I not be torn apart by this place? My tender heart ripped into strips of newspaper placed in my wood stove. How can I not be put back together? My heart strips used to ignite flame. How can I not chase the sun?

Chase the sun. Run after it. Feel the joy radiating out of it. Fill up on that joy and overflow. Spill it out to the boys across the street. Dump it into the Creek, the Mill Pond, the Trout Pond. Jump it around. Hug with it. Laugh with it. Spill it out in any way you know how.

morning view of cabin 8!

Am I not altered? By the sweet memories around the Thanksgiving table, by the hugs and cuddle puddles in cabin 8, by the smell of the smoke of a warmed up cabin. All of these alter me and they will continue to alter me as I venture back home.

Published by Halle McGuire

Class of 2024 Major | Exercise Science Program | Oregon Extension Location | Oregon, U.S.A.

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