At The End Of The Trail

Posted · 27 Comments

As I sit in the Alaska dark, waiting for Spring, I can feel the grit beneath my nails, the sweat across the back of my neck and the ache of my arms after a day in the woods.  The course skin of hands, dry and stiff from the leather of my gloves, the grain of the bark against bare forearms, scraping the skin as I tug and pull a log onto the mill.

Six miles up the road from my house is the land I call home, buried beneath the depths of ice and snow, months away from weather that will allow us in.  I can feel it pulling.  I’ve not spent one night on its soil, nor cooked a meal under a roof within its boundaries.  I’ve not grown a vegetable there, or dug a foundation, or spent a winter within the narrow walls of the cabin we’ve begun to create.

But it is my home.  Just as sure as I am sitting here, I know that.  For I do not own the land…the land has ownership of me.

And it is on that land I will find that which I have sought, all these years of searching, finally come to an end.  It is there, amidst straight spruce and thick birch, in the depth of the fields and the dark of the alders, where I will discover a small hint of what did lie in the hearts of those homesteaders, so many years ago.

They had the passion…those frontier men and women…which is now lacking in so many.   They strived forward, not seeking the future of modern civilization, but lunged forward into their past, looking for the base of what was and what was to be.  They didn’t intend to be legendary…they fell into it be chance, out of a hope for something better, something solid, something pure.

And when I get there, on my land, I’ll raise up my family as I should have years ago, when I was so busy getting ahead, gathering things, and plunging headlong into the American Dream…my path mapped out before me by my peers…mortgage, toys, the esteem of thy neighbor…bigger, better, faster.  Isn’t that the way it was supposed to be? In retrospect, I had a choice…I just didn’t choose to listen.

I sit here tonight in the Alaska dark, daydreaming about what will be.  Months from now, when the snow dissipates and daylight reigns, I’ll trek my family home, onto the land which will raise us.  And in the thick of the trees I’ll plant my children; I’ll sit upon on my porch and watch them grow.

Emmerson said, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

And so I shall.

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27 Responses to "At The End Of The Trail"
  1. Ross Atenveldt says:

    Your stories and descriptions are so moving. I’m rooting for you and your family.

  2. Rob Wetli says:

    remarkable writing; I always listen

  3. Valerie Pienaar Landon says:

    Love this as much this time as the first time I read it…:) And isn’t it great to look back at last summer and remember the meals you have cooked there, the vegetables and chickens and goats you raised, the house you built … all waiting just for the last push of work to be exactly what you set out to make there? It was hard for you all to step back, postpone the dream – but what a joy the coming summer will be!

  4. JessicaC says:

    Brought me to tears….I totally get that.  Makes me miss Alaska.  One of my favorites, thank you!

  5. Abnstotz says:

    Well written. It says what is missing in our souls and many yearn for and seek, though seldom find. So we keep searching and dreaming. Thanks for being a light in the wilderness.

  6. Night Rider says:

    This may be one of the best pieces you’ve written.
    Well done and well said, my friend.

  7. KarenLoe says:

    LOVELY post!  You have made me long for Alaska more than once…ANd now again!

    Check me out at:   http://taytayhser.blogspot.com/

  8. Kari MooMama says:

    Keri,
    I enjoy your blog and I would like to recognize you by awarding your blog the Versatile Blogger Award.

     If you would like to accept it, please go to my blog to receive it here:
    http://moosaidthemama.blogspot.com/2012/02/versatile-blogger-award-thank-you.html

    Thank you,Kari (MooMama)

  9. Moira says:

    Beautiful. We are possessed by the land. I am so in love with Alaska, even after all these years 🙂 I am very happy that you have found a place to call home and build a haven for your family. Your comment about planting your children made me think of this article http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/468751/jewish/Your-Child-Your-Tree.htm. I look forward to the pictures of your home as it goes up! How is your lumber pile coming along? Only two more months and it will be break up and then Alaska’s favorite season, construction!

    • I’m so looking forward to breakup! Though, if you drive our roadl, you’ll discover why the borough should have made us put in a culvert…once this snow starts melting, it’s going to be ugly!

  10. Terri Leman says:

    lovely…

  11. Terri Martin says:

    So powerful!

  12. Lori says:

    “lunging forward into their past”… LOVE that.
    That is why I bought the home I am in now. When I came to Washington as a little bitty girl of around 4 I lived for a short time in the old schoolhouse across the street from here and my mom who knows the family who owned this home would bring me to visit. Always welcomed always kind were the man and woman of this home. productive in farming and gardening…working with their hands and always welcoming others here.
    So I have come full circle in my life. My first memories that I know of are walking across the sea of green and up the mountain of stairs that I walk daily now and I never forget. What a blessing. God knew the desires of my heart before I recognized them. I wouldnt have tried to attain this home…It is grand and now needs tlc. My home now…that welcomes others in. That I dig in the soil in. That I nurture animals in. That I nourish my family and others from. That others marvel at the goodness of God and the miracles that He still performs.

    Thank you for sharing your heart Kerri.
    xo Lori

  13. Valerie Pienaar Landon says:

    I love this!

  14. Eleni Drinks Tea says:

    Bang goes my heart!  You get me every time 🙂

  15. Pam J says:

    … “And in the thick of the trees I’ll plant my children” …  this is why I so love reading what you have to say; your words walk, crawl, dance, and leap from the depths of your being, and you are in touch with those depths.  That integration reminds me of who / whose I am and the enormity of the possibilities that await each moment. 

  16. Randy Vieira says:

    I don’t comment as much as some, but I search out your blog at least weekly if not more.  I truly hope that God Blesses you with your new home as much as you have Blessed us with your perspective and the sharing of a REAL lifestyle of growth, progress, and maturity.  I often wish I my family neighbored yours.  Thank you for keeping me grounded!  🙂

  17. Summer Salter says:

    <3 so happy for you

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