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Thinking about gratitude this morning, as many people are today I am sure. And of course the first thing that comes to my mind is that I am grateful for my family. I don’t know where I’d be in this life without them. And I am feeling so extremely thankful for my amazing new home, Forest Grove, Oregon. But in particular I am feeling so much gratitude for my refuge, Fernhill Wetlands.

I have found a new therapist here, and am continuing to receive treatment for my CPTSD. It is a long and bumpy road, and some days are almost unbearable. Last week when I spoke to her, my therapist asked me what helps when it’s really hard. And I told her that back home I had a lot of wild places I could go to when I needed to seek solace, but that I hadn’t really found those places here yet and that is so hard. And then I realized that I hadn’t been including Fernhill as one of those places, perhaps because it feels so public. It felt like a place that I was reserving for special occasions, or to go walk with a friend. But, since I spoke to her and she encouraged me to find those places here, I have been there nearly every day.

But despite its popularity for birdwatching enthusiasts, this is a wild place if ever there was one. And so so magical. Because I am new here, I had assumed that many of the birds I saw this summer- Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Kingfishers, so many Canadian Geese, Flickers, Hawks, Starlings, and so many more- would be migrating for the winter. But apparently I was wrong! All of those are still there, and I assume they will be year round. Not to mention the Nutria, which I now know are not just beavers with funky tails, but an entire species of their own, unbothered by humans and so adorable.

This has become my new place, so beautiful and majestic. I can arrive here feeling tattered and leave feeling whole again. I let the water and the wildlife surround me and I find peace and ease. Where do you go when you seek the solace of the wild?

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