It’s good medicine.

Self reflection.

I wrote a while back that I often head to Gettysburg -my happy place- and just hang out.

I have more than one happy place.

As the weather turned colder I found myself not going to Gettysburg as much and sticking closer to home.

I still feel that overwhelming need to get out of the house. Not that I’m getting away from him, as he is not even home when I go, it’s just these four walls, they close in.

Winter is always a bit hard on me, I like to be outside.

If you believe in astrology signs, I am a Sagittarius… we do not like to be inside. It’s a nope.

My property is 56 acres. 53 of those acres are woods. There are many logging trails through them and we connect to a local county park that has miles and miles of trails.

So I do not have to drive anywhere to get out of this house, I can just walk out my front door.

And I do.

A few years ago, sometime in late January, I pulled into the driveway and saw a large herd of deer standing in the front yard. I can’t tell if they are bucks or does, none have antlers. So I text my step dad, “When do the bucks drop their antlers?” He replied, “They start around now and can go until April.”

This particular January is when my husband was in full swing of his affair.

I thought it would be nice to take a hike around the woods and look for a shed or two. My stepdad gave me some pointers on what to look for and told me to get out there and look.

“Being in the woods is good medicine” he said.

I did not tell him I needed some good medicine, but I’ve always found an amazing peace in the woods, so off I went that day. The vibe was weird and off in the house, so I had no problem running into the woods.

I didn’t find anything. Not physically. But what I did find was I felt better.

We had some snow storms that year that only allowed me to get out a couple more times. I would call or text my stepdad “R” when I was out there and as time went on, I started to learn what I was looking at.

He sent me a book called The Tracker by Tom Brown jr.

He would call me and talk to me of how deer move, sleep, eat… how to see what else was out there.

My goal was to find an antler. They were dropping them and I wanted one.

I would hunt with R as a kid. I never got anything, but I learned. I learned at 9 how to walk without making a noise. I learned how to safely handle my rifle. I also knew then that I didn’t want to kill anything, I just wanted to be out there in the woods and hang out with him. He was and is to this day my dad and someone I love, trust and respect.

Inside my house, my life was falling apart, but outside the front door and into the woods, I was finding a peace that was addicting.

When summer came that year, I stayed out of the woods, I’m insanely allergic to poison ivy. That’s when I started heading into Gettysburg for that same peace.

Winter came and as the woods emptied of the few hunters permitted to hunt here and their season ended, I headed back in.

I’m going to find one this year. Im determined.

Back on the phone with R, he tells me again what to look for. That book has helped too. I can’t believe it, but I’m at a point that year that I was following buck trails, identifying their markings, I have a good feeling this will be my year. I will find a shed.

I didn’t, but the addiction of being out there is powerful. R is right, it’s good medicine.

I search everyday the weather allows me to do so. I don’t hit the same spots daily, I don’t want my scent messing with them. I can see where they sleep, I can see where they head off for the day, I just haven’t stumbled on any sheds yet.

One morning I went out right after sunrise. They had already moved on from where they bed for night. I searched, nothing. So I found a spot under a pine to just sit for a minute and listen.

If you sit for a bit, the woods will adjust to you and come back to life again.

I heard something coming towards me. The sun was still low in the east sky, and there was a bit of early morning fog. Sun beams coming through the pines and the fog was stunning. Breathtaking.

A deer came over a small hill and looked down at me sitting there. She had sun the behind her, all those early morning sun beams in the fog lighting her up. It was gorgeous. We looked at each other for quite some time. I didn’t move. She didn’t move.

This is why I come out here. Moments like this.

When she finally turned and sprinted away, I knew that image was going to be forever in my memories.

So that year, I came up empty handed in the shedded antler department. But I got to know my woods better than ever before.

I found old mason jars, where the turkeys roost, a full blown junk yard that looked like it was from the 60’s, deer trails, a hidden pond, eagles nest, owl nests, fox, coyote tracks. I watched countless sunsets, I walked every inch of the banks that run along the creek.

The Canadian geese hate me. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get them to trust me, but they hate that I wander around out there.

I got to know my woods and the creek. My marriage was crumbling, my husband was cheating on me, my family was falling apart, the aftermath of the affair was almost debilitating. I didn’t know who I was… but as time went on, I was starting to find myself again. Getting to know my woods was weirdly teaching me how to get to know myself.

2019 rolls in and as soon as hunting season ended, I go back out. This will be my year.

Now, my kids have started to tease me. “There goes Mom again, looking for an antler.” Eyeroll. Laugh.

“Come with me, let me show you what’s out there”

They say “no, that’s alright, you go mom.”

I don’t get it, at their age you couldn’t keep me out of the woods. I’ve always been drawn to it.

I tell myself I should maybe wander off my property, into the county land and look there. But I change my mind, if I find one, I want it to be from one of “my” bucks.

Now though? It’s not really about finding a shed. It’s about being out there. The peace. The realization that I am at a crossroads in my life, in my marriage.

I have always been the caregiver. Always. From my family to my job, I take care of those around me.

I’ve never taken care of myself. It always felt selfish. I will do for you before I ever do for me.

I do not want anyone “taking care” of me. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward.

So for the first time in my life, I’m just taking care of me. This alone time I so desperately seek is perfect. I even make sure it’s during times that the kids are in school, husband at work, or even when the kids are at work. Everyone is taken care of.

I like getting to know myself.

I recognize and accept what’s going on with me. It’s all okay…

I’m angry. For the first time since dday, I’m truly angry. Yes, I’ve been insanely mad before, and thought I had already gone through that “five stages of grief” anger stage a while ago.

No. I didn’t. Not like now.

It’s not an all consuming rage, it’s more like a quiet anger of realizing that that man did me wrong. I’m starting to see him clearer. The bad…and the good.

I’m depressed. I can see it, feel it. I’m okay with it. It won’t last forever.

I’m self reflecting. Who am I? I don’t know yet, but I am really starting to like who I am, who I am becoming. Maybe the depression is lifting.

It’s March 26th. I’ve been in the woods since January… just looking. If it’s not raining, I take some time to go look.

I found more mason jars this year. They are old, it’s nice to know I’m bringing them back into this old farmhouse where they belong. I found a cast iron pan too, it’s almost 100 year old pan! I brought it back to life and cook in it almost daily.

I’ve watched many sunsets out there this winter. I’ve watched the geese start to pair up and many are already sitting on eggs. I watch the red tail hawks circling above me, I listen to the strange sound of the turkeys I rarely ever lay eyes on. I have a favorite tree I sit under and listen, and sometimes I bring my journal out and it’s the perfect spot to sit and write and listen.

It’s an old tree. Massive. I know it was here watching Union and Confederate troops go by on their way to Gettysburg. I wonder what all it’s witnessed.

There’s even been a warm day here and there that I can drag my kayak out.

The water was insanely cold. But it felt invigorating.

I go out as much as I can. I go saying I’m looking for sheds, but honestly, I go for what R calls “medicine”

“Mother Nature will always give you what you need. If you need to heal your body, she has what you need. If you need to heal your mind, she has what you need. She will always give you what you need.”

He tells me this a lot. I wonder if he knows something is broken in me, but doesn’t want to pry.

He doesn’t ask, he just teaches me what to look for.

I found one Sunday.

I send a text to R right after I calm down.

I’m not done. I may never find another one, but I will still go and look.


About Walking the Journey

I'm a wife of 22+ years, a mother of three, a sister, a friend. This is my journey on healing after an affair. I'm full of sarcasm, humor and truth. Sharing the journey after my husbands affair, I'm hoping to rid myself of the demons and get a ticket out of crazy town that I'm living in.
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8 Responses to It’s good medicine.

  1. Alice says:

    It’s too early in the morning to cry!! I really enjoyed that. I felt like I was reading a book and now I’m waiting for your next chapter!

    I also love Gettysburg. I’ve only been twice. It is a gorgeous town.

  2. I found that nature grounded me. It’s so vast and reminded me that what I thought was so big, was really so small in the grand scheme of things. Loved this post. Made me smile, and pleased you got that antler, do you think it’s nature letting you know that whatever happens it’s going to be okay? Moisy

  3. How wonderful to have a happy place in your own back yard. It’s great medicine for your soul. Congrats on your find!! Here’s to many more in your future.

  4. Beautiful. That’s all I can say.

  5. Ainsobriety says:

    This is deeply moving and beautiful. I expect there are many more gifts for you to find on these solitary walks.

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