On our final day last week of vacationing in the Green Mountains, (before making our pilgrimage to that den of cheddar and chocolate temptations, the Cabot Creamery Annex in Waterbury, Vermont) my family and I went for one last hike in the woods. As we set out from our car, a woman pulled up, rolled down her window, and said to us, “Do you know about the Candy Tree?”
She had my four year old son at “Candy Tree.” Now, this mythical tree covered in candy, hidden somewhere in acres of woods, was not easy to find. Nor did we frankly need candy, given that we had stopped at a chocolate factory the day before. Even so, once the secret was out, we couldn’t help but hunt for it. This wasn’t something you could Google to locate; believe me, we tried. So for more than an hour we hiked deep into the woods, looking for the trails the woman had mentioned, scanning every bend to see if that Candy Tree was around the corner. Our team of explorers was led by a child who kept pulling out his imaginary map, studying it carefully, and informing us with confidence that “The Candy Tree is this way!” An easy stroll in the woods had become an adventure, a quest, with endless possibility hiding within plain sight.
Being on a mission changed our relationship to others on the path, too. Instead of passing by with a tepid smile the man on snack break in the shade with his kids, or the couple with a pair of black labs, I stopped to ask if they had seen our Candy Tree. We ended up walking back at the end of our hike with the latter, my son running ahead as the labs chased him. Though we never did find a tree covered in candy, the search for it heightened our awareness and attention to the now: the places and people who were part of our journey in that moment. The gift was in the relationships we built along the way, with one another and with the ordinary riches that surrounded us.
This month’s newsletter comes at a crossroads of beginnings and endings, where we discover how far we have come together. This month, Reed Loy and Linden Rayton '11-'12 share how journeying with intentional communities for a time has shaped and formed their lifelong journey together, while Micah fellow Ashton Murray shares a benediction with the fellow community as this season in their relationship comes to a close.
Meanwhile, I begin a new journey as Life Together’s Executive Director. One of the great gifts of the past two weeks has been witnessing the strong community surrounding me and the fellows as we end old stories and begin new ones. Thank you for the support, encouragement, and prayers you have shared with me and all of us as we move into what God has next for Life Together.
Kelsey Rice Bogdan