01 April 2009

A Story of Saying Goodbye to the One Who Nurtured

by Patresa Rollinger
A Story of Saying Goodbye to the One Who Nurtured
She called. And like a child runs to its mother, I came. “I have to go down to the lake.” I blurted as I pushed away from the dinner table. The urgency in my voice told my husband more than he wanted to know: that he would be packing alone for our impending move until I got back.

I grabbed my coat and hat as I ran out the door, across the deck, down the stairs and onto the trail that led downhill, between Manzanita bushes and newly budding oak trees, to the lake that bordered our property.

Leaving after 29 years
After twenty-nine years we are moving from our home in the country where we have lived on a ridge overlooking the small heart-shaped lake to the east and a sprawling valley to the west. It’s the best thing for us now that we are older and the children are gone. I hate the fact that we are leaving.

I slow down only when I reach the northwest corner of her shore – the place where I always stop to gaze out over her silvery dark water, to slurp up her beauty like a parched desert traveler. Tonight the wind ruffles her surface and rustles the tops of the bullrushes that grow along her edge. The “scree” of a red-winged blackbird pierces the softening shadow of dusk. Turning to my left I walk along the north shore to the east. When the trail branches I stay close to the shore to avoid the denser trees and bushes where mountain lions are known to lurk.

I watch what remains of the sunset
The east shore offers a rocky beach on which to sit as I watch what remains of the sunset. It’s rather ordinary tonight: no clouds, little color. But still, any sunset feels magical to me.

My heart starts doing strange things in my chest. It feels light and fluttery. Memories abound as my throat tightens and tears stream down my cheeks. What will I do without my lake? Where will I go for the care she gives me? Who will still my fears and worries and listen to my anger without judgment? Who will offer me solace?

I have struggled with these feelings for days as our departure date draws near.
 A very wise and trusted friend suggested I leave a tangible piece of my self behind at the lake. I was shocked. The idea never occurred to me. It’s not what I think I am supposed to do. Shouldn’t I to take all of me and mine away so the new owners can claim it as theirs without me/mine/us in the way? As if I could.

I always think of taking a piece of her with me, not vice versa. I am the one who is leaving after all. Why would she care? It’s nothing to her that I am here or there. She will go on just as she has with no thought of me. She won’t miss me. Isn’t that the existential crux of the matter: I come, I go, it matters not to her?

In my pocket I carry a heart-shaped piece of gemstone.
It is something smooth to fondle when times get rough. It has been caressed much lately. I reach for it now, seeking the familiar weight of it as my living heart weeps. What if I leave this symbol of my heart here, in her care? She, who has unfailingly cared for me all these years, could hold it for me. She is a heart-shaped lake after all.

The heart in my pocket is heavy. It will sink like the proverbial stone. I take it out, letting it rest in the palm of my hand. It is silvery black just like the lake. Taking aim at the deepest part I throw it out to the water where it lands with barely a plunk and slips from view.

Take my heart, sweet lake
I give it to you freely. Take it all. Devour it and lick your chops! Beam all the love it holds and all the love of which it is capable to all who encounter you whether they sit by your shore, swim in your belly or view your heart from the sky. Guard it well. I do not know if I will return.

I love you deeply. I will miss you dearly. The memory of you will live in my heart. It brings me comfort to know that my heart will live in the depths of yours.

Be well, my love.
Stay Connected With Free Updates
Subscribe via Email
  • Blogger Comment
  • Facebook Comment


  1. Beautiful. A lovely tribute to your lake friend.

  2. Beautiful. A lovely tribute to your friendly lake.


Copyright © 2012 Creativity and Spirituality: the Enduring Path All Right Reserved