Sitting aboard the ferry, on the way back to the land of grocery stores and free wi-fi access, Holden Village might as well be halfway across the world rather than halfway across Lake Chelan. Did I really wake up to find Martin’s Ridge right outside my bedroom window and cross country ski on the tailings with Eliza, Abby, Tina, and Ben just this morning?
Perhaps it is just the change of scenery, from the snow-laden mountains to the greenery, sunshine, and spring-like lakeside air, but it almost seems like my time at Holden never happened.
Yet if I close my eyes, I can see the mountains outlined by the backdrop of the clear, night sky and softly lit by the moon; I can feel the heat of the flames on my face as I quickly feed more wood into the furnace and I can hear the soft, yet insistent pitter-patter of snow as it falls all around and on me. I can see the smiling faces of my friends as we sit at one of the round tables in the Hotel eating toasted peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and sipping tea; I can hear laughing, the kind that comes from deep in your belly and quickly envelopes your entire body, and I can feel the pleasant weight of joy in my heart and contentment in living in the present moment. Those were the simple, yet significant memories I have from Holden and it’s difficult for me to even register that they are in fact, officially memories, rather than the common occurrences of my daily life over the course of this past month.
My time at Holden has truly been a blessing. I woke up every morning excited for all that the new day would bring and I went to sleep each night with the satisfying fatigue from a day well spent. Living in the present moment has always been something I struggle to do; at Holden I was not just existing in the present, but fully living in it.
Along the way, I rediscovered a few bits and pieces of my soul—my little kid, play in the snow and be goofy side, my sing out loud and dance around side—and I reaffirmed a few others—the utmost importance of friends, family, and community, my faith and relationship with God, the pleasure of living simply but wholesomely and happily—and I want to return all these parts to the forefront of my life. My time at Holden has not transformed or changed me; rather, it has renewed my faith in people and in God, it has allowed me to find parts of myself that I believed to be lost, and it has given me good courage for the journey ahead.
My heart aches with the knowledge that my time at Holden has ended, and it hurts even more to realize that this special time with so many beautiful people has come to a close. Impossible to recreate, but important to always remember as a time and place where the stresses, fears, and insecurities of life were set aside, where a group of strangers became the best of friends, and being alive was not a task that needed completing, but a blessing to wake up to each and every morning.