Rapids, Endings, Walking On

Kelsey Breseman
5 min readJun 8, 2023

We wake early, too early even for the 6:30 alarm. We're hundreds of kilometers south of Dublin, and our flight home leaves at 3pm today. There's a bus that will get us there in plenty of time, but we've been unable to get the website to process seat reservations, so we're nervously jumping for the bus an hour earlier, just in case.

It's warm already when we leave the house. After weeks on the west coast of Wales, it's strange to have the morning sun over an eastern sea — but we're back in Ireland for just a day. The water shines, still. Our shoulders brush the clumps of high-growing pink valerian. I watch Eileen's sky-blue pack bob in front of me: one last walk to get to the bus.

As with many overuse injuries, six weeks of rest is a good prescription for burnout. Walking is good for processing, and according to Fitbit, I've done a little over 400 miles on this trip. All this walking, and I've rarely put in headphones — I breathe, and think, and write in my head.

I have had time to remember what I like. This summer, in Juneau, I will rock climb. I'll hike and draw and practice languages. I'll try out a career in creative work: climate communication with writing and photography for The Nature Conservancy and my tribe.

This fall, I have decided to finish my master's degree as a full time student, immersing myself instead of dragging it along one class at a time while also working. I have remembered that doing one thing fully is more fun and more effective than being pulled in many directions. And instead of squeezing homework hours out of weekends and evenings, I will paint silk and go out dancing.

In the fall, I'll renew my self-insemination, with life at a more sustainable pace. If it works as I hope, I'll be in a different focal place by December graduation.

Hopefully, I can keep bees again next year.

Out the bus window, I say a mental goodbye to sheep, our daily companions. I gaze out over the patchwork hills, pasturelands so unlike home, a brighter shade of green. I'm looking forward to the warm earth scents of my home forest, the depth of hills covered by conifer trees.

I think Wales in the sunshine may be the loveliest country I've ever seen, and I have seen a lot of this Earth. Somehow, we've had sunshine all six weeks, in two countries known for the rain.

We've pushed our bodies. Eileen has had time to overuse a knee and heal it…