But this weekend I did.
We beat the Pittsburgh heat and headed to Confluence PA to a lovely B&B close to the Yough River.
Many of you know that I spent 24 years living, raising kids, and being married, in the Laurel Mountains. I have visited the area several times since I left in 2008. With each visit my past life has flashed before me leaving me slightly nauseous. But this time, as we ascended the 1200 ft rise crossing the Summit Mt, my ears popping and the outside temperature dropping, I noticed a subtle shift in myself. I no longer felt the dread of returning to the place I called home and felt so alone.
In dread’s place? I felt at peace with my past. I felt gratitude for the beauty of where I raised my kids-I think they are better off for a rural childhood. I felt grace for the friends I did have that helped me feel normal. Thank you Lee, Kathleen and Anne. And I felt such a sweetness for the home Pete and I created-literally adding a 1200 ft addition to an existing 1939 log cabin by OURSELVES. (Yes, I had my own tool belt, hammer and tape measure. I could woman a power saw, drive a straight nail, be pregnant with Jena and feed 3 year old Landon, all at the same time. I was wonder woman!) As my past flashed before me I smiled.
Tom asked if I wanted to drive into Deer Lake and see the house. My first response was, “NO,” I didn’t want to push my luck, but as we got closer to the turn into the community I essentially grew up in and grew my kids up in, I nodded yes. (Also, I was, at this point, well aware I wanted to share this with all of you. It felt too big to keep to myself so I thought some photos would help you get the picture.)
This is the gate house into the lake. Deer Lake was originally a gated community. Today the gate house is home for the easter bunnies visit, santa’s early arrival to take orders, random neighbors yard sales and the yearly board meeting where residents complain about other neighbor’s dogs. I remember sitting in some of those meetings thinking about real problems.
Now, before I show you pictures of the house, let me give you a very short history of my love affair with my log cabin home. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. Everyone who came into this home felt it too. It was special. Maybe it was built on land blessed by Native Americans, or maybe on a safe from the world energy vortex, or maybe the chestnut trees that the original cabin was built from carried with them all that is good in the world. Whatever it was this house was my magical place. It held me.
I think it looked much, much better when I lived there. It looks a little soulless to me now. I am sure I am not being biased.
Selling this was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Yet even in the selling of the home, it once again, in it’s final act of love toward me, called to it a buyer paying cash two weeks before the housing market crashed. My lovely home provided me with the retirement I didn’t have.
Here is an inside peek when I ran the kitchen.
I still regret I didn’t take that chandelier with me. It was original to the house.
Being back in the mountains, feeling my past meet my present with a much softer touch, reminded me of how healing this area is for me. Tom has said to me, on occasion, “I need to get you to the mountains.” He will explain later his suggestion has to do with my mood…I guess it like with kids, when they are crabby you put them in water…when I have walked on too much concrete we go to the woods.
Lying on the rocks today at Ohiopyle, temporarily dipping ourselves in and out of the chilly water, I knew I am better for living in this place. I felt myself unwind in a way I only do in the presence of large rocks and moving water. I know these rocks and they know me.
I sat up to see Tom watching me, “These are your rocks sweetheart. They have been waiting for you to come back.”
I know he is right.