24 October 2011

Late autumn goodbye

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.
Goodbye.

13 comments:

Helen said...

Touching, Joseph. What a glorious place to grow up.

College Gardener said...

Touching indeed. You are so lucky to have grown up on twelve such beautiful acres and it is wonderful of your parents that they are letting the land become part of the park!

annajcook said...

I'm so glad I had a chance to see those places where you wrote me all those years' worth of letters!

I'm looking forward to seeing photos of the new place they've bought as well. Give your folks my best!

Hanna at Orchid Care said...

Wow! You sure are fortunate to have grown up in the heart of nature. No wonder you are now so passionate about gardening and plants.

I’m just a big city girl, so I envy such breathtaking surroundings.

danger garden said...

Beautiful place, beautiful post. I found myself getting a littly teary-eyed (don't tell any one...can't go screwing up my spiky tough reputation)

scottweberpdx said...

Wow...what a gorgeous area to have called home...you were very lucky...and now others will get to experience it as well :-)

Greensparrow said...

Thanks everyone! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. And Danger Garden, I won't tell anyone about your soft heart under all the spines. :)

azulverde said...

Glad to know that you are a transplanted Buckeye in Michigan. My two favorite places in Lake County are the Penitentiary Glen (also inappropriately named) and the Holden Arboretum where I draw inspirations on what to plant in my garden. Next year I'll make sure to visit Hell Hollow Park in spring, summer or fall and experience the place of your early life. Maybe I'll feel as poetic as you are.

Greensparrow said...

Azulverde,
Those are two of my other favorite spots as well! Hell Hollow is not for the faint of heart -- it is quite a treck down into the Hollow, but well worth the visit.

greenman said...

Great post!
Amazing place to live as a child!
Everytime I go to my hometown, visiting my parents I also end up returning to my childhood and make some kind of introspection.
Liking yourself is half way to be happy!
Thanks for sharing!!

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

To have ones sense of self wrapped up in a specific location and validated by nature is a powerful gift.
Your goodbye to that beautiful untamed park must have been sadder than you described.

Glen said...

Joseph, So beautiful. It reminds me of where I grew up in Maine. My family owned over 500 acres of land so I never knew boundaries in the forest...

Tom said...

I would have killed to grow up in an area like that...