Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Finding Self in Place, part 2.

 {continued from part 1}

I flew from San Francisco to New Hampshire (with Charlie) and arrived at Camp Kabeyun early, a day before the rest of the staff, and had a private reunion with the land.  My first cold April night, I bundled up and felt my way along the rooty lake shore out to the far dock where I sat in the blue moonlight and marveled at where I was, the light of the moon strong enough to show me the  sun-bleached wood of the docks and the new green of the trees.  I had never felt a stronger sense of homecoming that didn't involve people.  This was all about me and my love for a place, and of course, all that this place had come to represent for me.

During that first week before the students arrived, the leaves of the trees had a lightness that matched the wistfulness I felt.  I moved comfortably through the woods and rediscovered the perfect spot to ease into the lake.  I was insane for the smells of pine and lake water and wind, for the subtleties of the landscape, the age and wisdom of the land. 

                              My short-haired, 25-year old self with fellow NELP staffers Samaine and Deborah.

My return to Kabeyun was certainly intended to be an independent experience, but it didn’t take me long to narrow in on Sam, a fellow teacher, the tall, strong poet with a lumberjack’s beard.  I sat on the steps of the dining hall early one morning and watched him splitting wood with ease and grace.  It was obvious that Sam was equally comfortable in his skin here at Kabeyun.

Love happened quickly.   In order to carve out some time alone, we spent our first dates floating in a canoe on the lake, Sam semi-paddling in the stern while I sat backwards in the bow, facing him, and Charlie sitting in the middle.   We spent our nights in his small cabin, so close to the lake that the sound of the waves lapping against the rocks never quieted.  We fell asleep feeling as though we were floating on a raft.  By the end of the program, we were in deep, and we had a decision to make.  Sam was moving to Maine to start a Masters program.  I lived in San Francisco.  I pictured the city street where I lived, the flowering trees everywhere, the steady flow of pedestrians, the endless warm weather.  “Maine?” my friends and family asked.  “Seriously?  So far away? ”  Well, not only was I in love in a big way, but the promise of a landscape close to Kabeyun’s thrilled me.  If I could live in New England, I thought, I’d always feel this alive.

                         Batch of bread, NELP style.  I made the challah.  Sam made the french bread:

                                           Sam contradancing with the NELP director, Jackie:

                                            NELPers saying goodbye at the end of the program:

{--to be continued}


Carver Fam said...

My favorite new sentence:

Love happened quickly.

Joanne said...

My heart got hit by that sentence also!!

Beautiful writing.