WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER
Last week, I was fortunate to be a part of the Brower Youth Awards. Since we met cute in the lobby of the Brower Center, I've felt particularly lucky that I got to share in this experience with environmental activists Ryan Camero, Celeste Tinajero, J.P. Viñales, Dyanna Jaye, and Jess Grady-Benson. As Celeste shared during her speech on Tuesday night, "every single soul equals change." Ryan, Celeste, J.P., Dyanna, and Jess (check out their stories here) embody this maxim beautifully--as do BYA's badass and beautiful Project Directors Anisha and Ruth.
Our week in the Bay was ripe in memories. We met with cherished mentors; we surfed in the blue-gold waters off Bolinas. We kayaked the coast of Point Reyes and sank into the sand on Heart's Desire Beach and listened in as our ecological mentors shared solutions for pressing environmental problems.
It was sometimes tough. Without much time to decompress, I struggled to stay engaged. I found myself wrapped up in sadness after my recent break-up. I questioned whether I was doing this rare opportunity "right," if Loam was achieving everything that it could.
Some of the resonances I have felt from this week were immediate--especially my renewed passion to grow the Loam community, to bring Wild Walls into schools, to find new ways to express my gratitude (for now, I'll say this: Nicole and I love you all every single horizon in the soil because it's your support that helps us stand).
Some of the resonances I likely won't feel for months to come. And this is its own kind of beautiful too. More than anything, I am flooded with gratitude for the people I met and for the time that we had to celebrate.
Because we don't celebrate enough in this life. We skip over milestones; fail to honor moments of real pride in and love for ourselves and those we are surrounded with. I so rarely create the space to celebrate--to admit to myself that I am proud of who I am, however flawed, and what I have done, however incomplete--that it was almost uncomfortable at first to find my way into Brower. I didn't feel entitled to celebrate.
I've since learned that celebration overrides the self. It's our way of tapping into a spirit of collective effervescence. A way to connect to the people we are with and the world we walk through. Celebrating isn't an entitlement. It's an act of gratitude.
As the weekend nears, I've been having fun figuring out ways to celebrate everything that has been bubbling up beautiful in my life. I want to celebrate fall and my friends and FOOD. I want to celebrate the many experiences I have lucked into and the many more I have worked hard toward.
I hope you'll join me in celebrating---however you like to, with whomever you want to. And share with us how you are toasting the precious here and now. We always want in on the party!