It was my sophomore year of high school, career counselors were visiting for the day. They were there to help the student body of 248 fifteen year-olds decide what they wanted to be when they grew up. My honest and loving hippy response was "I'd like to live in a little house in the country and grow peppermint."
Never more sure of anything, I wrote it in my journal. Which I still have to this day.
My counselor on that day told me I'd be better suited for a career in Humanities. I wonder if writing and making art and raising a family and homeschooling and sharing beauty with the world counts as a career in Humanities?
I sat next to my friend Nicki, she said she wanted to be a flight attendant. I wondered if she had ever thought of that before this particular day. Because on career counselor day, if your responses to their questionnaire stated that you liked helping people, travel, and were outgoing... flight attendant was one of a dozen professions that were recommended to you. I wonder if flight attendant is still on the list? I'll never know what Nicki would have become, she didn't live past high school. She was killed in a car accident just before entering her senior year. I'll always remember though, Nicki didn't roll her eyes as most adults did when I shared my peppermint filled dreams. We were different in many ways - she in her pleated, tapered leg pants and awesomely teased hair, me with my out of fashion Indian print clothing found at the Salvation Army and long non-layered hair. She was kinder than anyone you'd ever meet (anyone would say so), and because of her, my aspirations were heard and honored that day. That meant a lot to my fifteen year old free-spirit-self who was used to being listened to, but in a "that's nice dear" kind of way.
I don't know why I'm writing this today. Perhaps because these photos, this magical place we visited yesterday, evoke a certain nostalgia for me. Yesterday I pretended (if only for a few moments) that this was my shabby cottage on a dirt road in the country. A place where clothes are tossed on the river bank for a dip in the cool flowing water, where late afternoon sun rests on the meadow and the scent of peppermint lingers in the air. Along with dreams that still live on.