dry grove.

Dry Grove is a lot of things to a lot of people.

In reality, it is a cabin with a lake on a quiet piece of land northwest of our capital city.

For me, it was an invitation.

November of last year, I had been pulled into a text conversation full of buds I went to high school with. We grew up together, and there’s just something about this group of guys that works really well. We all came from the same place and watched each other change shapes and laugh when our voices would crack.

After sharing the news that I had separated, they pulled me in. Granted, it was initially for Saints game conversation, but it always went further. As it goes.

When I went home for Christmas, I was talked into staying a few extra days so that I could come to the cabin and fish and eat and partake in some of the finer things in life. Such as Coors light, homemade apply brandy, and deer back strap, among other simple luxuries.

My first time at Dry Grove pulled me out of the trenches.

I had just found out that my ex had already moved on and I was certain all of it was meant to turn out this way. We sat around the fire, threw up some proverbial middle fingers, and laughed till we fell off stomps and fell asleep in the warmth of cabin heaters and porch lights.

Waking up, I smelled of campfire smoke. I was warm and found myself the only one awake.

I walked out to the dock and sat in the cool morning. Seeing ripples and anxious fish and steam created this intensely welcomed feeling in my heart. Like I was going to be okay.

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This past weekend, we all met up again.

I guess the thing is, we all bring some weight to Dry Grove. We sit in it when the time is right, and we also grill pizzas and fry fish. We make trails and fend off spiders.

We laugh until we fall over.

But the fish were not biting.

The fire struggled to keep.

And our beloved Saints lost to the Browns.

To me, those were peripheral.

I have taken on the role as cook, when I can. So I try to help keep bellies full and nudge myself into place where I feel most comfortable.

It is amazing to have this.

This is my thought, as I sit among my friends going through so many things. So many transitions and loss and the weight of a world full of questions and wonder.

I sit in it and I soak it all up.

I soak up the fire that turned dead wood into glowing coals, and stood transfixed on the burning pine needles pulsing like a heart.

Going on a ride through the woods, I felt the first cool air since I’ve moved back home. I also made friends with a fuzzy caterpillar that decided to fall on my sleeve.

I feel certain that we will leave, and the worries of our days will trickle back in…but for those moments, when you feel okay and safe, they can pull you out of the darkness.

Where there is fire.

And breath.

And warmth.

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