“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David Thoreau
When I lived in the mountains, I felt like I was remote, but I had the companionship of my partner and the animals. We had a handful of neighbors and a meaningful community that we connected with often. So, although isolated, there was still companionship. Going to the farm was beautiful, but the natural segue into being immersed with more people, and yet I still had the quiet moments to reflect. I didn’t know then that the solitude I was about to experience would be one of the greatest gifts, and yet painful to befriend.
During my stay at the farm, I received a phone call from my former partner, and coming back to NC was no longer an option. It was too painful, and I understood, I had been feeling the itch in my soul still, and I had to adventure out to find what my soul needed. But I wasn’t prepared to go back, I didn’t have anything with me but the essentials, a few clothes, none of my sacred items, my shaman’s journal – all of it still in the mountains where I was to return to in a month.
Everything came crashing in at once; what did this all mean? Where would I live? Where do I want to live? I had so many questions but not enough answers to make any firm decision. I didn’t want to return to the mountains; I didn’t want to move back to Charleston, SC. I wasn’t even sure I’d want to move back to Phoenix, AZ, a place I loved and hated to leave. I couldn’t stay at Steve and Kathie’s forever.
They offered me to stay at their creek cabin so I could have an indefinite amount of time to figure out where I wanted to land and what I wanted to do. “It’s a good place for healing; it’s quiet,” they told me. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the quiet solitude felt needed. And so I ventured to Walterboro, SC, to seek the seclusion of Kathie and Steve’s creek cabin.
Much of my time at Chessey, I felt what I believe Henry David Thoreau must have felt when he lived on Walden Pond. I woke up to the sounds of nature – hawks screeching, birds singing, the wind. It was indeed quiet, and at times I don’t know that I could have ever felt more isolated, more alone than I did in that cabin.
I would sit on the dock in the early morning, wrapped in a warm blanket, sipping my coffee and watching the day open up before me. I gauged the tide and guessed at what point in the tide that exact moment was, and pondered the time. I would take the kayak out and paddle, returning only once it was too dark to see the stroke of my paddle hit the water. At night, still wrapped in a warm blanket, I would listen to the Barred Owl, he was never far and a few times swooped down just feet away from me, catching a field mouse. The Owl began showing for me the moments leading up to my arrival at Chessey Creek. I passed several dead owls on the roads, 17 total during my two months at Chessey. I also encountered several live ones, one of which brought me one of the most significant messages I’ve ever received. What I learned from those owls carried me forward, and as you will learn – the message could not have been more profound.
© Dakota Earth Cloud Walker, 2018 All Rights Reserved. No part of these stories or photos may be re-distributed without the express, written permission of the author.