Maude, I am in Hamilton again. It has been many years since I've spent time near Colgate University, but I've found myself in the town where your spirit was born, where my grandparents lived and where my mother grew up.
I drove into town before the conference began so I could find my grandparent's old camp on Loch Lebanon and to have the memories come back to me.
I was punched in the stomach, however, when I found the camp. It was buried in trees and shrubs and had several dead cars in the back yard, It was not the heaven that my grandmother believed in, and it was a good lesson for me to see how nothing stays the same.
I used my memory from my 19th year and, believe it or not, I found the Ripleys in Hubbardsville: Rena, Russell, Spencer and Ann. I parked my truck on the side of the road and walked to their graves wondering if they are here or in the gorgeous great beyond from where I stood.
I'm unsure, Maude, if I was prepared for the emotions that would flood into my heart and soul at seeing the name....RIPLEY...our name...their name...the name that has been so central to everything I am, locked in stone, once again where they are buried.
And when I looked up, I saw the first butterfly of the season. A black swallowtail, floating in search of nectar and the summer to come. At that moment, I felt reborn. I believe in the magic that was invested into me.