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This is a piece I wrote after making the decision not to go back out for my ninth season of tree planting. It explores navigating change during big life transitions.

Photograph by Rita Leistner / Stephen Bulger Gallery
 

the season is starting. it’s spring. everyone is coming back together after spreading their wings. there is a buzz i can feel but not see, because i am not there. i am watching it from afar. my first time in eight years not going back. that’s the longest i’ve ever committed to any one thing other than school. i feel weird. like the bus has come and is driving away and i am not on it. i watch the bus drive away.


i hear the details from friends, i see the pictures. i replay memories in my mind, i run through all the different beginnings over time. it’s heartwarming and i miss it, yet i know if i were there i would hate it. i felt the chapter closing long before doing anything about it. i’m finally honouring myself by listening to the call for change. it’s strange closing a chapter on a part of yourself. but it was becoming too much, it was taking more than it gave. there was not enough balance.


i know i’m doing the right thing by adjusting my sails, listening to my inner voice and trying something new; but part of me feels sad. part of me feels like i am losing a part of me. my spirit was so alive out there in the wilderness.


i will find new wilderness.


i'll adapt.


adaptation. a cool survival feature of being human.


it’s allowed to be sad and hard. i won’t fight these feelings. i am closing a door, ending a chapter but through ending one adventure i’m automatically starting another.


i will lean into my breath, trust myself deeply, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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'new wilderness'—A Tree Planter's Decision to Retire

i watch from afar as the season starts and friends reunite. i am feeling lost and nostalgic as a version of myself slips away.

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