I took a drive down memory lane this week, and I've got mixed emotions.
When my parents divorced, my one brother and I went to live with our grandparents on a beautiful Oregon mountainside, surrounded by 40 acres of forest. A live creek year round flowed into a pond that Grandpa built with the "Cat"; trees and more trees, and a cabin that I was madly in love with, filled with mystery and memories.
I had to take one of my daughter's up to that area on Monday for a church camp called EFY (Especially for Youth); the exit was just two more up the highway, and Mountaindale was two miles beyond that. That was all I was after, just to go to the little country store and show the kids the charm; it was after all, about a 10 minute drive.
As I pulled around the corner, the country store was closed; the promise of "video’s" empty and void. The charming boardwalk bleached gray by the sun and the rain looked sad and lonely; windows boarded up. Where are the little feet that used to hurry for an ice cream or a soda pop? Where are the farmers and cowboys who used to come for the newspaper and conversation? What happened to this happy country place?
So, on I went; driven by the need to see what else had changed I suppose; daring myself to go another mile, to see another landmark of my childhood.
Curve after curve, house after house, I was comforted that they're all there; they all still exist in one form or another; another generation living and working alongside the Dairy Creek, it's hum and thrum giving life to the places, big and small along its banks.
Forward I went, leaving the main road; compelled to drive up into the mountain, into the belly of the beast; fearful yet hopeful. Homes have been added, but the essentials were still there; one family still lives there as the road marker clearly indicated.
Finally, at our driveway I could go no further. The knowledge that much had changed stopped me; gone is my beloved cabin, supposedly crushed by a falling tree years ago; gone are grandma and grandpa; gone is my little brother; gone are so many things I held and hold dear. Gone are the forests of the neighboring property, but "our" trees, “my” trees still stand; the forests I trod in daily, finding myself in those woods; alone, just me and my trusty dog.
I came to love solitude in those woods, spending hours just walking; drinking from the creek, sure I saw a bear hibernating; making stories and fables in my head.
It’s all gone, and the pain of that is as fresh as it was 30 years ago when grandma sold it after grandpa died. I wanted to live there forever; to hide myself and my pains away and breathe deeply the mountain air; always.
It was not to be.
But my life is a Testimony that the Lord loves us, and knows us by name; knows our needs and our wants, and gives us what’s best for us.
I know beyond doubt that where I am, is where He wants me to be; all the memories are still mine, I can reclaim them at will.
So really, I have the best of both worlds.
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