It is the last day of March. Only a few hours remain.
I have now lived in Lowell for just over a year, and I am once again awed by the speed in the passing of the past 365 days.
In the last year, I have spent many hours with visitors to Lowell. I offer ideas about experiences we share with people who lived here in a different time. I suggest that in this moment, we witness a snapshot of a place in the present through the lens of the past. The moment we share becomes each of our own memories, never to be repeated in quite the same way.
It is strange to think that not much more than a year ago I imagined I would be returning to a very job and life in Alaska.
I have made some strange choices in my life, ones that have aroused questioning and disbelief from friends and family. But I cannot say that I have regretted most of those choices. A couple, yes. Yet they have all shaped me into the person I am today, a woman I am proud to be.
I am waxing a bit on the poetic side, but I suppose this comes from being so close to closing yet another chapter of my life—an academic journey.
Whoever gave me the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, the places you’ll go” when I graduated from college must have known something.
Oh, the places I have gone. I have moved seven times in two years. I have had four different jobs. I have lived in four very different bioregions.
From the misty Pacific Northwest to the wildest corner of Southeast Alaska, the desert and dells of Arizona, and finally to an old mill town dusting itself off after years of neglect.
It is enough to make anyone wax poetic and feel a bit out of place. In my life, I have often felt like an anachronism, and these past four years were no exception.
It has not been easy to follow this path. I have gone to the darkest of places, in my heart and in my mind. I have left behind people I loved in order to create a different life for myself. I chose a path I had to walk alone.
Mere months from earning a PhD, I am knee deep into the fourth chapter of my dissertation, an autoethnographic narrative of the four years I have spent in the Sustainability Education PhD program at Prescott College. It has been a difficult chapter to write. I knew that autoethnography meant a lot of writing. What I did not realize was the number of times I would have to relive painful memories in the writing of an autoethnography.
I am so thankful for these past four years, for the friends and family who supported me through the dark times and celebrated with me with the return of the light.
And I am thankful to you. I hope you find your light as well. It can be a tumultuous passage, but the reward on the other side is well worth the stormy crossing to get there.