The trees hold secrets.
Their roots beneath my feet, beneath the earth. That is where the truth is held. It’s the quiet whispers you can only hear when you stop to stand among the trees, among God’s greatest creation.
What did I see:
Life, death, wind, trees swaying, grinding one another
Death supporting Life, Life supporting Death,
new growth, new beginnings, foliage, earth floor with droppings
brush and flowers, birds, tree breaks, limbs on ground, flies, mosquitoes, ants, and bees
Aspens & Spruce (pine) growing together
untouched, natural, primitive; God’s creation
As beautiful as this last little bit of the hike has been, with the sun peaking its head out between the trees here and there, I see darkness between the tree lines. It made me reflect that it’s okay to head into the darkness. It showed me that as I walk through the beauty around me, I know what awaits in the darkness. I shouldn’t be afraid. What that brings up is that I’ve been in a ton of darkness, and I am not sure if I have ever allowed myself to see the positive of the suffering that has been endured. In some way or fashion, we all have had our onslaught of darkness and a steady variation of victories and defeats.
I am grateful for Huts for Vets.
In the Fall/Winter of 2020, with the country and world dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and all that entails, like many other people, I found my self in a depression. Having Post Traumatic Stress, coupled with the pandemic, I found that the symptoms were exasperated.
I sat on top of Mt. Yekel – by the way, I had the best seat in the house – to see the sea of mountains and nature unfolding. I did some sketching and introspected in my solo experience and I came up with this:
By: Jennifer Patronas, USAF Veteran
Reintegration after a deployment does not end on Homecoming Day. Of course, it is an exciting day to be welcomed home, but is followed by a huge adjustment period for the entire family. Everyone changes after deployment. Everyone has unique experiences, good and bad. New habits are developed, good and bad. But afterwards, everyone must live together again and resume life, but things never go back to the way they were before. A new normal had to be created.
Words by HFV alumnus Adam Stump
After attending a Huts For Vets trip in late June and early July, I left coming away wondering why years of therapy failed time and time again.
When I returned from deployment in 2011, I went to therapy after having a breakdown. In 2013, it was the same. Both times, I came back from deployment with a heavy heart and mind.
by Meghan Counihan
I wished to fight with you “my brothers”,
I served my country but my sacrifice was somehow never your equal.
I weaned my infant from my breast,
a month later I covered them with the same uniform, and my shoulders with the same patches as you and I boarded that white bus.
Before dawn broke, my baby slept, as I slung that M-16 over my shoulder.
She awoke that morning; and her mother was gone.
By Air Force Vet Dannelle Coatney-Reichert – 5th Grade Math teacher, Pasadena, TX
A leap of faith, nervous and anxious I stepped on the plane headed to Colorado. I thought to myself, can I do this, will it hurt? When I arrived I was met with open arms and encouraging words from strangers I had just met. I couldn’t help to wonder what was next.
I sat around the table with warriors from all over the United States. The look of nervousness and insecurity was present and precise. The next morning we packed our gear and loaded up to the trailhead. Why was I going to hike this mountain? Four days without technology or hearing from my family would be torture enough, or so I thought.