Sense of place














It all came together rather last minute, but my sister, two life-long friends and I gathered at my family's cabin on the Wolf River for three glorious days last week.

Women I have know since birth and childhood and young-adulthood respectively. The same three women who gathered with me there, readying ourselves for Pete's and my wedding, held just up river so many years ago.

These friendships – and this place – are made of old roots.

Though our lives could not be more different, my connection with these women is deep. I know their backstory and they know mine. We know where each other came from and where we want to go from here. It's nice to be understood in that way – by someone who knows where you've been.

And so we talk and read, hike and ski, knit and sew our way through one very restorative weekend together each winter. (Also eat. Because oh, my can these ladies can cook!)

All of this, gathered at the cabin build so long ago by my grandfather's and great-grandfather's hands.

My sense of place is deep here. Deeper than at my own farm or my childhood home. Deeper than anywhere I have actually lived.

My grandparents have been gone for what feels like a lifetime – more than twenty years for my grandma. Though their house still stands next door, it is not their house anymore and I feel their absence each time I visit.

But more than that I feel their presence.

Pulling my pincushion from my bag – my grandma's pincushion – it felt somehow like coming home. And as I knit by the fire I wonder how many times she sat in this same spot, with these same needles in hand. Always making, both her and I.

And in the woodpile and the cluttered shed – my grandpa is there, ever puttering, ever working. And stacking just one more face cord to get us through the winter.

And so this weekend was a weekend with long-time friends, yes. But also it was a weekend with memories, visiting my own childhood and my grandparents one more time beside the river.

I am thankful for deep roots, and a place to call "home" beside the river.


3 thoughts on “Sense of place

  1. Veronika says:

    Hi Rachel, I am a long time reader from Germany but never commented here. Your words just struck a chord with me. I feel exactly the same when I visit my parents’ place. They are still alive but they decided to leave their farm, my childhood place. I don’t know yet how to deal with it but it is going to be heart-wrenching for me. My roots, my memories, everything I learned, my sense of belonging are in that place.
    Thanks for putting my feelings into words. Glad to read you had such a wonderful time!

  2. Shell ~ says:

    ~ Oh, joy !… that happy pincushion ! Its so beautiful and full of loVe, you can feel it! The beauty of handmade holds such treasures. What a special place, a cabin in the woods, oh, wonderful Mama Nature. I feel like perhaps I am the person who will establish such a place for my family and friends when I move to Maine, a place by the sea. ~
    & loVe the quilting.
    Shell ~

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