Mornings are my favorite, and there’s nothing better than a morning that begins with a walk.
Today just happens to be a little bit special! My walk is in the roots of my hometown in WI, where all of my childhood memories are.
This is a nice distraction from my everyday strolls through the neighborhood in IN, where we moved nearly 8 years ago. Today, I will be comforted by connection, familiarity and belonging. Though much has changed over the years it is still home.
Before hitting the pavement I commit to a route. This isn’t your typical block. In the country a block is usually one mile long, so not having a plan in place could result in unusually long stroll.
The day is cool but pleasant. I am thrilled by the unexpected sunshine as I start down Wehausen Rd. My maiden name is Wehausen and having a road named after your family is a true sign of its history. This is the homestead of my dad’s ancestors who settled here sometime around the civil war. In my younger years, this road was populated with farms owned by relatives.
Before making my first turn, there was nothing stimulating any emotion. However, as I glanced ahead, my eyes caught a farm that immediately triggered sentiment. This farm once belonged to my dad’s uncle. During most of my years at home, my dad’s cousin ran the farm. I recall many visits with the family and many hours playing in the yard. We spent a lot of time together, sharing farm equipment, helping each other out….and yes, we also celebrated together. If there was a party in the neighborhood, it was likely happening here.
My first glimpse of the farm brought happy thoughts, but before long, they were tainted with reality. It was almost unfamiliar. If I wasn’t certain of the location, I wouldn’t have even recognized it. On the perimeter of the yard, trees, once neatly sculptured, were overgrown beyond maturity. The barn was dilapidated; the silo rickety and broken down. Many outbuildings were destroyed or weathered and the house itself was completely restructured. Overall, it lacked the care that was once present.
Putting the memories aside, I continued on. Slightly beyond this farm was another hobby farm that uprooted some deeper connections – it was home of a friend. Visions of afternoons in the pool and dinners in the dining room were re-visited. Together, we shared a love of horses and spent many afternoons gating the neighborhood on the back of our four-legged friends. Passing by other horse owners, we waited for them to saddle up and join us. This was a memory that helped me understand my current needs.
The next turn was down a heavily wooded area…not a house in sight – just nature. I it wasn’t for the mosquitos swarming me, I would have been in complete silence.
A turn down the next stretch brought back the memory of conversations of the past. We used this road as a reference point as it crossed Wehausen Road. It was an easy guide for anyone visiting. Covered in trees, the sun disappeared. I was glad that I decided to bring a jacket and quickly pulled it over me. Slightly farther down the road, I took note of homes that didn’t exist before. Change happens everywhere.
Making my final turn back onto Wehausen Rd., I glanced across at the farm kitty-corner to me. It once belonged to my Aunt and Uncle. The reminiscence of confirmations, graduations and family reunions surfaced to my forefront. Wish six children, four closely paralleling in ages with me and my sisters, they were also playmates. These memories were like something that happened yesterday.
It seemed almost as if no time had passed – I was still that little girl strolling through the country on a quiet afternoon, before heading to the barn for chores.
My final trip down memory lane happened as I passed the property that in view of the big picture window, on the east side of our house. The girls that lived here were also playmates, and part of the ‘riding group’. They owned two horses.
A vivid memory engrossed me. I could hear my dad’s negative undertones as he muttered complaints of helping rally the untamed Arabian horses that escaped their coral, yet again. As much as he loved helping people, some things just got under his skin.
New owners had done obvious improvements. It was impressive; a 3-car garage, well-manicured yard; fields groomed to perfection.
Approaching the driveway back home, I became flooded with an array of emotions. Though there was much familiarity around the community, there was also a disconnection. While the area existed much the same, the people are not the same. Even at the family farm, the atmosphere was different.
It’s been five years since my dad died, yet there’s a part of me that expects him to be there.
Change is unavoidable and inevitable. Things change more than they stay the same. The funny thing is that we get trapped in those memories making it hard to move on. How we grow from change is what determines it real value.
Learn to accept what is unavoidable and take with you what is in your soul.
Because of my love of horses and my passion for helping others, I started volunteering at Agape Therapeutic riding stable just outside Indianapolis. It helps keep me close to the things that are imprinted in my soul. It’s also a way of giving back to those who have limited opportunities.
Think of the changes in your life. How have you used these changes to grow? Have you ever allowed change to hold you back?
Takeaway: Thinking back to your roots will help remind you of your passion. It may also be the secret to a more fulfilling LIFE.