My hands were red and raw. I had chosen to discard the heavy work gloves an hour ago. The autumn day was brisk, but the sun was full and heavy on our shoulders as we worked. I looked back across the freshly raked field.
You are hiking. With each step, your boots crunch over a layer of freshly fallen leaves strewn about the forest. The leaves are orange, yellow, and red, and they shine in the sunlight all around you. The autumn air is brisk and clean.
There is one solitary canoe upon the lake’s open waters. There is one solitary young man within that canoe upon the lake’s open waters. He paddles alone steadily cutting through the water. Why is he alone?
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Let me paint you a picture of wilderness therapy. We are sitting in the forest along a mountain trail. The sun is high in the sky, casting golden beams through the green foliage. Within one of those beams sits a young man of 16 years. He sits by himself atop his backpack, boots placed firmlyContinue reading “What is Wilderness Therapy? And Does it Work?”
The air was hot and stale in the bus and so crowded with people I stood for the entirety of my journey. Muted French voices swirled in the atmosphere around me as their host’s bodies swayed to and fro with the curvatures of the road. I felt sick. With each twist and turn, it seemed asContinue reading “Last Days of Summer”
Student at wilderness therapy program: “Does Miss Tammy own this company?” Wilderness therapy instructor: “Why do you say that?” Student: “Everyone’s always saying that she’s the most important person here.” Instructor: “Well, that’s because she is.” Wilderness therapy is the ultimate Hero’s Journey dance; a cyclical pattern of communication, efficiency, and passion. It is a process that is alwaysContinue reading “The Most Important Job in Wilderness Therapy: An Ode to Miss Tammy”
The rock we sat on seemed to grow harder and harder as the sky around us grew darker and darker. The air was damp from a summer misting earlier in the day. The forest was quiet except for the swiftly running creek and the beat of my anxious heart full of expectation and wonder.
With a deep breath and wide eyes, I pulled my car into the line of minivans and mid-sized sedans packed with coolers, hot dogs, and the laughter of happy vacation spirits caravanning into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I look around my own car, feeling slightly out of place. Me in my compact car, water bottleContinue reading “Synchronized Fireflies: Journey to Healing, Part 2”
When I was a child, I would spends countless evening hours lying on the floor with encyclopedias open and spread out on the carpet around me. No. I was not a child prodigy genius studiously inspecting the world of academia. Like most children, I was imaginative and curious. I was creating a world for myself through theContinue reading “Daydreaming Life into Reality”