By Terasa Swope-Peterson, CSW
The fall season always takes me back to my childhood. It is my favorite season, and I can picture myself as a child, around the age of 9 or 10, walking up Mill Street towards my grandparents’ home. I recall the crisp cool air, the changing of the light in the late afternoon creating extended shadows and the yellow and gold of the leaves swirling along the sidewalk. I long for the simpler times, the peaceful sounds of the crunching leaves under my feet, the warmth from the wood stove and smells of applesauce being prepared for canning, or soup being cooked for supper. The times in the little town of Ely, the town that as a teenager I couldn’t wait to leave, and as an adult I long for with the hope of rekindling those long-ago feelings. Wouldn’t it be nice if our world was able to provide the many young people with those experiences and opportunities of making the trek on a fall afternoon to Grandma’s House?
The other day I read an article about Nevada Day, and once again I was reminded of fall in the town that grew me. As I recalled years of experiences, memories began flooding through my mind. Memories of Halloween carnivals, cake walks, trick-or-treating, Christmas Parades, summer events and more. Standing out were the associations with the people who influenced me and surrounded my family throughout my life. I have not lived in Ely for many years, leaving in 1997 and moving to Utah. Yet, here I am, 26 years later, recalling those same peaceful feelings, I recognized my list of memories was too big to make just one journal entry. An idea began stirring within my heart and soul. An article, no, better yet, a weekly column. A column of the experiences that directed my path, gave me strength, and helped to make me the person I am today. For, without this little mining town in Northeastern Nevada, I would not have become who or what I am.
It seems especially fitting that Nevada Day closes the month of October and leads us into the season of gratitude. This week as I pondered those memories, I realized I had much to be grateful for because of being raised in Ely. I have remained aware of some of the occurrences in the community, and with many of you, I mourn the loss of members who have been victims of tragic experiences recently. I am all too aware of the devastation that can come from the loss of loved ones through violence and circumstances we just cannot quite grasp or understand. As my heart yearns to comfort those who are experiencing an extremely difficult trial and challenge, I become aware of the many beautiful memories, the pictures and scenes that replayed in my mind. I am hopeful that reading of my memories will guide you to recall your own experiences and the peace you have found. May it remind you of the joy and laughter you have shared with those around you, and may you see the good that exists around you each day. Let that be your focus. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts, stories, experiences, and memories. I am grateful for Ely, the town that grew me.