Knots and Weaves
By Emma High
Alice Copock was a magic woman. She held roots in Northern realms of Bohemia in the Czech Republic, and had three daughters: Monta, Ginny, and Thelma. True to their gypsy blood, these four women traveled around Northern America as singular unit, eventually settling in Southern Idaho, where Alice’s daughters grew older. While Monta slowly drifted away from the pack, Ginny and Thema remained closer than ever—eventually marrying two young men who were best friends and business partners, and inevitably, they started their own families together. In 1964, Ginny’s youngest daughter Holly was tragically killed in a car accident on her way home from the high school prom. This devastating loss happened just 15 years after Alice, Monta, and Ginny lost Thema—my grandmother—as she gave birth to my mother. These two events subsequently changed the knit of my familial fabric. And while the pain was unbearable, my great aunt Ginny—a mystic, painter, and healer—used the money she received after Holly’s death to purchase a small cabin hidden in the deep forests of central Idaho to cultivate a sacred space to grieve the loss of her daughter Holly and sister Thema.
In my conscious memory, I have always known the cabin to be real. As time moved forward for Ginny, it became harder for her to make the trip from my hometown to the cabin. My mother, feeling as deep a connection to the space as my aunt, brought my sister and me on epically long drives from Twin Falls, ID to the cabin in the summertime. Being stuck in the middle seat was brutal, but the sore legs and road fatigue were all worth it when the subsequent days were spent lake swimming, filling my belly with sweets, reveling in my sunburned and bug-bitten skin, and ultimately spending time with my mother who, as a school teacher, worked tirelessly during the school year. It was our time.
This place was nothing short of magic. Time became of another construct, and days shifted in and out of each other with each waking and dreaming moment.
My Aunt Ginny passed away a little over a year ago, and the cabin was put on the market. It was never mine to begin with, but I can’t help but feel a fierce possessiveness and resentment towards the nice gentleman who bought it not but two weeks ago.
I packed up my car and drove 10 hours to say goodbye.
July 9th, 2014
I left at 5:45AM. I wasn’t sure how I managed to pull myself together from the long day before. Good company and tequila relieved nine hours on my feet, a yoga practice, and five miles of walking. The drive was a blur… passing familiar and unknown landmarks, stopping more often than usual, but managing to stay awake regardless of my intense desire to just sleep. By the time I hit the market, 20 minutes past the 45th parallel, my caffeine deprivation set in for real. I reached the cabin and immediately got sick… still feeling totally in denial that this would be my last visit here… that I’m turning 29 in two days… that I have to go back to Seattle…
I slept for 3 hours.
When I woke up from my fever sleep, I brewed a pot of coffee. I couldn’t manage to get myself in the bed upstairs partly because of the bats, and partly because I wanted to wake up in the morning looking at the water.
It’s magic here. I feel my grandmother, my great grandmother, and my great aunt all here with me. The osprey flew by the window twice. In the morning I’ll look for the grey fox that lives down the path. Even the bats don’t bother me with their scurrying and scavenging in the attic. Everything here is perfect.
I’ll keep writing.
July 10th, 2014
I’ve jumped into the lake three times today. Maybe four. I’ve lost count because this morning I was up with the sun. I brewed coffee and took some photographs. I found a moth perched on the window sill and took a picture of that too… I ate and called my mom. She tells me that my other grandmother has stopped eating… that she’s about to die soon.
I’ve been sitting in the sun now for three hours, and I keep ebbing in and out of sleep. If it’s too hot, I jump in the water. I wish I could have something to contribute to this loss.
As I turned face to the beginning of a new cycle of Saturn, I sat by the water and grieved… finding healing in the same space my aunt cultivated almost 50 years ago from that moment. I found the space to say goodbye. To find healing, to tap into the powerful calm a body of water, the sound of wind through aspen trees, and the call of an osprey can provide. All of it is all around me, all the time, whenever I need it. The moments I’ve experienced in this specific place still exist. And while my roots are tangled and messy, deeply knotted with loss and sadness, it’s this beautiful weave that makes things interesting, ready to be untied and let go.
Emma High is a multi-media artist, alchemist, and yogi currently holding space in Seattle, WA.