dry grove.

Uncategorized

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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.

fishing. (a post for my grandad)

Uncategorized

In the summertime, I got to spend a lot of time with my Gran and Grandad.

Before school started back, my sister and I would head up for a week to spend some extended time with them. Meaning, more than a weekend visit. It was sort of a “spoil the grandkids for a week” sort of situation.

We’d go out to eat and watch movies and swim. It was a paradise for me.

We would get new school clothes for the year and I would have everything set out on the bed, so when my mom came back to pick us up, we’d be able to show her our new threads. And can we talk about how exciting it is getting new shoes as a kid? It’s just the best, right?

We were lucky.

Because it was so hot, my grandad and I would go fishing early in the morning. We’d stop at a Burger King or McDonald’s and get a few biscuits. He’d get coffee. I’d get a coke. The usual. There’s just something so nostalgic about fast food breakfast.

We usually hit up this catfish pond a little ways outside of Jackson. It was a typical sort of joint. A seafood/catfish house off the main road which made lunch and dinner. Behind it were two big ponds stocked full of catfish. Easy fishin’, y’all.

It was a “you catch/we clean” sort of situation. You pay by the pound, so on and so forth.

One particular afternoon, I was killin’ it. Catfish after catfish I would pull up. My grandad would bait a line, I would toss it in, he’d bait another line until we’d had our fill. Come to find out, we almost didn’t have enough cash for the day’s catch! One more fish and we’d be doin’ dishes!

And it’s so funny to think about. In the days where you didn’t have debit cards. Once you were out of cash, you just didn’t do any more things.

But, I was on a roll…and he didn’t want me to stop.

matthews_schliske_11

My grandad passed away my senior year of high school.

And today is his birthday.

I’m choosing to celebrate his life and his goodness. Because the truth is, we all know people never truly leave us.

I remember the first thing I ever wrote in college was about my grandad. I wrote about his hands and how excited he got from watching basketball and how he would rub them hands together, toothpick in his mouth, actin’ so giddy.

I loved it.

It made my whole family cry and I tear up thinking about it.

And now, I have this fishing pole standing behind me. A hobby that I’m working on. I’m a little intimidated and I’m having trouble getting it ready for fishing.

But it’s okay. That’s why it’s called a hobby, right?

Somehow, this memory is embedded deep down. That feeling of pulling up a fish. There’s just nothing like it. It helps me feel connected. Those memories are good as gold.

Yes, today I’m celebrating life and goodness.

And hoping for the day I get to pull another fish out of the water,

thinkin’ about them hands,

and gettin’ all giddy.