Holden Voices: Blog

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

MARTA VEGDAHL-CROWELL: 61 Months in the Wilderness

May 01, 2020 at 12:00 PM


Day 47

In these times of minimal entertainment, I have found various things to calculate. If we push aside the unfortunate circumstances that have led me to do math at all, I pause on this calculation: the 61 months I have spent in this wilderness.

This road is where I learned to ride a bike at age 7. An Open Mic in the Dining Hall at age 12 was where I first sang in front of people. The Copper Basin trail is where my thirteen year-old self experienced “oppression”- a dramatic interpretation of being forced to hike. At 15, this place was the source of loneliness and grief as the long-term goodbyes became too many. And at 24, this place was where I rediscovered connection, empowerment, and music.

These last two months have been two of the hardest to spend here. I grieve the hilarity and community building that spring at Holden usually offers. I grieve the many short-term staff who were going to energize this Village this summer. I grieve being able to grieve with all of you, during weekly Prayer Around the Cross services. I grieve how much loss our state, country, and world are experiencing right now.

I did not see growth the day I broke down on the Copper Basin trail. I did not see growth when I had become too emotionally exhausted from saying goodbye as a 9th grader. And I also hate trying to find growth during hard times- the idea that people need trauma and hardship to become resilient reduces pain to a necessity, and life is so much more complex than that.

However, I also believe that I am perhaps experiencing some level of growth through this – I just probably won’t recognize it until I get bored enough to calculate something else.

In Peace,
Marta

Marta Vegdahl-Crowell is Staff Coordinator at Holden Village. This column was originally published on May 1, 2020 in a daily newsletter, "The Quarantine Quarter," which is compiled by various staff members and sent to all Villagers.