But the truth is that I have been dreading tomorrow since the first day I moved into cabin, on August 15th of 2013.
I write to you tonight beside my last bonfire. The wood was a bit wet from our recent rains, and I burned through match after match in an attempt to kindle a lasting flame. I'd like this night to last forever, but I know it will burn out, just as I always knew I would have to leave here.
Two evenings ago I laid on the dock with Leto, welcoming the dusk. I was waiting, anticipating my favorite residents of the woods. Sure enough, it wasn't long before we heard the strange, slow staccato of the herons calling to each other, sweeping over the canopy from the southwest. They made an elegant arc over the lake to land in their favorite corner, the shallows by the old "arboretum" to the west. They settled. Even from the dock, they are beautiful to watch. Their silver gray color stands in stark contrast to the dull browns and greens of the evening. Their lovely figures fit so well with the surrounding vegetation that, when still, they could be sculptures. One began stalking along the edge of the lake, lifting each leg slow and deliberate, pausing at the top before slipping toes back in the water. The mate followed ten feet behind. They came to a stop, five feet apart, and just stood quietly. Separate but together. Not touching. Not speaking. I was completely captivated by them, as I am every night they come.
The idea of leaving the forest, of leaving this house I've come to call my "own," has been agony to come to terms with. But when I think of how much better it felt to leave the herons their privacy, I feel slightly better. Perhaps the only thing that could improve this place would be my absence. Letting it exist free of my porch lights, my fires, my whoots and hollers as I ski the paths on dead winter nights.
Though tomorrow ends my residency here, I will still be visiting these woods, contributing to their history with my footsteps. As a parting gift, I've planted a number of wildflowers here in the hopes that they will someday take back some land as invasive plants are removed in the years to come (the cardinal flower is doing particularly well!).
Jenny & Leto