Tag Archives: remembrance

Re-membering our Youth in Chewelah

Chewelah yurtWe were young and in love and had our sights set on buying some cheap land and building a house on that land. Or at least my husband’s intention was focused on that result. I was the tag along and I was newly pregnant. The first piece of raw land that we looked at backed up to the Wallowa Mountain range, and it looked way too steep, way too remote, for me in my present state. I wanted to know, where was the hospital? And how big was that tiny town of Joseph anyhow? So the realtor there suggested we travel to the Colville Valley, which he pronounced Coal-ville. And if he were younger and not so tied down that’s where he’d go. So we packed up our two dogs, jumped into our green Dodge pickup, covered by a Conestoga wagon top over the pickup bed (hand crafted by Chris). And then we travelled up route 395, in the month of May. We crested the hill that looks down into the valley, that held the town of Chewelah, and it was green and lush and beautiful. And I knew that that would be a good place to stay.

And we did. Chris found us a piece of raw land, not quite as cheap as in Joseph, but still only $333 an acre and the town was a bit bigger and had a hospital! We built our yurt that summer so that we had a home for our daughter. We met our neighbors and were introduced to the community of twenty year olds who also wanted to build their own homes, on a piece of land, have babies, swim in the lake, and start a community. We each came for different reasons, from different parts of the country, running from families, or moving forward to learn new lessons. Some of us stayed many years, some of us left wanting to explore other locations or bigger cities. But we gathered together for a sharing that still keeps us connected even today, even if we don’t see each other, or call, or write, or hang out. We are still heart connected. And I loved our land there, our sixty acres, and I grieved when we left, but I also knew that my husband and I needed to explore other parts of ourselves, to stretch out of our comfort zones.

A good friend compared our experience in Chewelah to that of being in the womb. It was a time of nurturing and developing, re-growing our youth. Maybe we were all there to re-learn how to be family together, how to connect with each other and with ourselves. We didn’t want the standard rules, so we came to a small community where we could make up our own new rules. We healed, we loved. And we all came from someplace else, so we were the outsiders to the townies. But I believe that we have known each other in different lifetimes and we all gathered to say hello again and share the raising of our families together. We had fun; lots of belly laughs, by the lake, sledding in the snow, watching the children grow and learn, sharing holidays together.

When we remember an event from the past and color it with our descriptions, the feelings of those times come back to the surface of our consciousness. When we are able to put ourselves back into our past, pat it into shape with our memories, we color our present with those memories of love and fun and light and laughter. We are re-membering our pasts by bringing together old pieces of ourselves. It is one way to renew and review our youth. It is a way to bring our youth into the present, and time travel.