I was down in Ohio, visiting my parents this past weekend.
It was a gorgeous late autumn day, and the trees and water in their back yard were breathtaking.
The 12 acres I grew up on back up to Lake County's (poorly named) Hell Hollow Park which is dramatic and beautiful.
We moved to this spot when I was 8 years old, and since I moved out at 19, I don't get back as often as I like.
But every time I do, I step out of the car, hear the waterfalls, smell the cool, moist woodland air, and feel at peace.
My parents are moving in a few weeks down to where they've always wanted to live, in the high country of Western North Carolina. They're selling the land to the park, so more people will be able to enjoy this idyllic spot I spent my childhood running around in.
I'm happy for them, and very happy I'll always be able to come back and visit this place in its new life as part of the park, but it was also a little bittersweet, saying goodbye.
These woods were not just my playground, they were my church, my place to be alone. In special, secret spots, I figured out who I am, what I believe, how I want to live my life. I cried, rejoiced, wrote long, long letters to dear friends.
Standing in those special places this weekend, I looked at myself, and was very happy. I love who I am, how I am living my life, happy knowing that wherever life takes me, I'll always have deep roots reaching back to that rich, woodland soil.