A few weeks back we celebrated our annual Wilderness Girls weekend - I can't tell you how many years it's been a tradition but what I can tell you is that the girls in this picture are barely 17 and well, that is many years ago.
There is nothing more precious in life than girlfriends. Although I love my family with my whole heart I do believe that when you choose to love someone - to let them in to your heart - they are there because there is a kindred spirit shared between you.
These girls in this original photo have grown, changed, learned and lived. They are stronger, smarter, and a bit more tailored. They have fallen and raised each other up. They have gone head over heals in love and known desperate heartache. They have both born children and struggled with fertility. They have laughed, they have cried, they have hurt and they have grown.
Each year our adventure is a bit different but certain things always remain the same no matter the location or the time of year. The first year our meals consisted of tuna sandwiches with bbq chips and pickles, euchre, canoe rides and campfires. Now, within the loveliness of A's cottage, we prepare gourmet meals and enjoy bottles of good wine in front of the wood stove while amusing each other with charades and sharing stories. There are laughs that come from the gut and then there are tears from the heart. There is endless chatter. Endless. It's quite rare to think of there actually being a moment where we aren't saying much but I suppose that if and when there are those quiet seconds, there really isn't a need for words. As in love, there are precious times where you don't need to fill silence with words. Where you can comfortably sit in silence just knowing that all is calm.
As we drove home with the dark of night all around us, our soundtrack blaring loud and our voices singing strong, my eyes filled a bit with tears and my heart swelled with love. We are all going home to different lives and yet there is the common thread of friendship between us. One of the songs that we always listen to (usually on repeat multiples times as per H's request!) is "When you Say Nothing At All" by Alison Kraus. As the lyrics say, "it's amazing how you can speak right to my heart". I know that in my story of life, my heart leads my way. I believe in saying I Love You too much. I believe that every ending is a beginning.
To my Wilderness Girls - you truly do speak to my heart even when there aren't words. I know as the hard things were said that your hearts actually stopped for a moment to catch up. I could feel each of your love for me and that is what gives me strength - strength to forgive, strength to move on and strength to try again. I know I don't need words with you but I have so many that I want to say and want you to know. The moments that we share together are forever etched in my memory. I love that we can each be our true selves around each other - be that silly or serious, reminiscing or dreaming of the future. We've each shared so many different life experiences but the common threads are what binds us. Being with you, in the middle of the woods, silence around us and yet so much was said heart to heart. The reason I am strong is because of you. Because I am loved by you. Because my heart is full.