The Memory of Virginia

Flowering dogwood — the state tree of Virginia

I’ll miss the trees.

White and pink dogwoods. Towering oaks. Weeping willows with fairy land canopies.

Since childhood I’ve had a thing for trees. Summers you’d find me on our backyard lawn mesmerized by the sun dancing on the tips of leaves. I’d watch the morning light trickle down like a waterfall as it slowly engulfed entire trees, turning everything a sparkling, vibrant green.

I love green.

But there aren’t many trees in the desert. And certainly not much green where I’m going.

There won’t be any rolling green hills dotted with black cows and red barns.

No sweet smell of freshly mowed grass on a late spring morning.

No moss-covered stones jutting from brooks, their soft surfaces slippery and smooth like a carpet.

There won’t be much water anywhere in fact. No streams or rivers.

I’ll definitely miss the ocean.

And April’s ruby red azaleas. Pear and apple tree blossoms, too. The orange tiger lilies stretching out to meet me as I drive the back roads home. With the Blue Ridge mountains as the backdrop.

But most especially, I’ll miss my community. My friends.

Those who’ve walked with me through the birth and rearing of my son. Friends who cheered and howled along with me and David at all the soccer games and swim meets.
(Well, maybe not as loudly as David. Even I had to walk away from him shouting in my ear sometimes.)

Friends who showed up at my door with ham biscuits and casseroles and tears I couldn’t shed the afternoon David died. Friends like Deborah who accompanied me to the funeral parlor to make all the necessary arrangements. Kathy and Janet who helped clean my house when I didn’t think I had enough energy to get through another day. Whitney who mowed my acre of lawn whenever the grass grew too tall.

So many friends who helped me through all of it. Held my hand. Embraced me. Let me cry when I needed to. Or scream.

Friends who’ve accompanied me on this spiritual journey. A journey that took root, deepened, and blossomed here. And eventually veered off in a direction I never would have anticipated.

Now it’s time to leave. After 30 years in Virginia.

It’s far from easy.

I’ve come to understand that “poverty of spirit” really is about detachment. About letting go. But not only of possessions. It’s also detachment from what I thought was important. From what no longer serves me. From the fears and images and illusions I’ve falsely believed and carried.

And here’s a big one — detachment from trying to anticipate the outcome. From trying to control and plan and have everything in place. Because I can’t step out in faith otherwise. Or trust the voice of God within.

And follow where I know my heart is leading.

So, yes, Virginia, I will miss you. All your natural beauty. All your trees and greenery. All those special people you hold for me. But I will carry the memory. I will carry all of them.

And in my experience, memories of love never fade.

GC Tree

(Lyrics from The Memory of Trees, by Enya)

I walk the maze of moments
but everywhere I turn to
begins a new beginning
but never finds a finish
I walk to the horizon
and there I find another
it all seems so surprising
and then I find that I know…

7 thoughts on “The Memory of Virginia

    1. Pauline

      Thank you, Beth. Yes, I will definitely keep blogging. And I will miss all of you here. I will be sure to come back to Sevenoaks every once in a while


  1. Rob Morrell

    Ah, such a beautifully crafted goodbye to your adopted home state of thirty years, Pauline!

    There seems to be a kind of faith-filled symmetry to it all: you are bravely emigrating to a new home in an uncertain place to work with people who are doing much the same, albeit with levels of peril and fear that we can barely imagine. I suspect this will serve to deepen your empathy and connection with your fellow sojourners.

    I hope to hear more of your divine adventure at the beach in September. Fingers crossed you can be there with us!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Memories of love never fade…as you said. You are so loved and cherished and will be missed here in VA, but it is wonderful you are sharing yourself, your energy, spirit and time with those women and children who need you so much! I am so proud to be your friend, and you inspire me to continue to reflect upon my life and work, to see what God wishes next. Remember, you always have friends here, and you are and will continue to be, enveloped in prayer! Love you lots, Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kirstenrenee555

    Yet another beginning. So beautiful to watch you gracefully transition to this next phase in your life. Lots of blessings and love as you embark upon this phase of your journey. May you feel the ending of goodbye, as well as the excitement of what lays ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

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