It has been hard, of late, to see new beginnings as anything more than crushing endings.
I was feeling ready to tackle countless projects and develop ideas into real things and share and radiate and move mountains when I came home from the Taproot Gathering.
And now I wonder…was I really there? Did I make real, lasting connections? Did I begin to tell a story, but now have forgotten how to go on? What happened to the momentum I felt building as I journeyed through that weekend?
My sense of restoration has been tried and tested in myriad ways. I’m holding on to just a shred of it, and hoping it’s enough to help me find my way back.
Tulle, string lights, streamers, pom poms and cider by the fireside have been supplanted by financial woes, illness, soccer games, homework, rejections, apologies and making do.
It’s the same let-down feeling that comes after graduating college, giving birth or finishing a really amazing book.
I thought I could hold on to this.
I think that part of me knew I would go through this. I left several times that last morning, but kept coming back…to make sure I didn’t forget to pack something, to read about the history of the camps, to stand on the porch with my eyes closed and listen to the sound of the water lapping on the shore. Maybe I was trying to find some sort of identifiable way to keep the experience close, as if the sound of the water could stay in my ears and become accessible at will.
And when I finally tore myself away, I did not drive out of the camp. I parked the car just inside the gate, and then I walked to a trailhead, so I could give myself one last gift.
I stepped lightly, carefully, deliberately. I stopped to listen and I stopped to look and I stopped at the top of Rattlesnake Mountain for a long while in a sweet glow of sunshine.
Perhaps if I keep my step and my heart light, careful, and deliberate through these precarious times of mine, I will find the sunshine-y summit.
oh, Shannon. Even having been there for only a few short hours, I can see how that place would take hold of you in the most profound way, and then leave you feeling let down and overwhelmed by the stuff of real life. I have had that feeling before, after traveling the world, after moving from a beloved neighborhood, sometimes I even feel that after making meaningful connections with fellow artists and creatives (like I did that night in your cabin at Squam) and returning to my nondescript house in the suburbs. I guess the trick is being able to tap into your inner squam when the mundane surrounds you. I don’t know how to do that, but I’d be willing to bet you of all people will find a way.
Hi Shannon! We haven’t met but I found your blog through another Squam attendee and wanted to offer you some encouragement. This was me my first year (last fall, actually). Oh, man, I was shaking when I left camp, I was so terrified of losing my way once I was home again. I don’t know your circumstances, but – hang in there. I’m on the other side of that “pinch” now and I can tell you, if you’re gentle with yourself and you just keep moving through it, it will be so much better on the other side. That momentum will ebb and flow and it’s all so totally natural. Just keep moving.
xoxoxo and much squam love, a stranger named Jen 🙂