Holden Voices: Blog

Poems, stories, and reflections, written by faculty, staff, and volunteers currently serving in the Village.

PENNY GATES: Changed For Good

September 01, 2015 at 6:58 AM

Holden Village, the physical place, is still here. Some of it looks very much the same as it did when we were evacuated. There are some scars on the hillsides of the valley, the forest along the switchbacks looks bleak in places, while other places along the road have fared better. It is all a testament to the fires that shape and renew the forest. The deer, ground squirrels, and chipmunks have found safe refuge here in the midst of this season of change and upheaval. I hope we can all return to our refuge soon.

For the physical wholeness of this place, I am very grateful. But this is NOT the Holden Village I left on August 1st with so many others.

It will not ever be THAT Holden Village again, because the reality is that we cannot ALL be together again in this place; some of us have completed our time here, others have chosen to move onto other ventures of which we cannot see the ending. That much-used quote— "the community of Holden Village is like a flowing river: you cannot step into the same water twice"—is especially poignant now.

For this reason I feel sadness. I am sad for the goodbyes that I didn't get to say, and for the people I didn't get to know as well as I would have liked. I am sad that there are people who are waiting for their chance to come back, who want to be here now. It is a difficult time for our community. I miss you all.
 
Yet I am hopeful. I can't wait for more of us to be reunited to worship, play, work, and live together again. I can't wait to linger over coffee at Beanie's and to laugh with you at a Variety Show where talent is not required! To sit down at a table again with familiar faces and with new people that I don't yet know. To hear children running about in the dining hall and playing outside. To plan for a future with J-term students and guests. I can't wait to greet the bus again!
 
Still, I am thankful for the time that we had together here in this place. To quote from the musical Wicked, "Because I knew you, I have been changed for good!"
 
With love for the people who make up the Holden Community, near and far, until we meet (again)!