What We Carry in Our Guts, a guest post by Lindsey Stoddard

When I was twelve my dad got a new job and we moved an hour a half away from my old school, my class, my friends, my soccer and swim teams. I was mad and lonely and nervous that I wouldn’t find my place. My old house had a neighborhood with cul-de-sacs and kids who would run with me through our connected backyards and the woods encircling us until our parents called us home for dinner with the blasts of air horns. My new house was out a rolling dirt road, surrounded by acres of trees, and we couldn’t see the neighbors’ houses from our own. One thing that excited me was a perfectly flat stretch of land right at the bottom of our new yard’s hill where my parents said we could try to dig a pond. I imagined a little dock and cat tails and catching frogs.

In order for a pond, there had to be water, so my dad called my grandpa to come. He brought with him his dowsing rod, a big stick shaped like a Y that he held tightly in his upturned fists as he walked across the land, waiting for it to turn down toward the water beneath the earth. I remember sitting at the top of the hill, watching him step slowly, stopping, and stepping again, and I remember thinking that my grandpa was magical. That he had some special connection with the land that he could feel up through the bottoms of his boots and deep inside him all the way to his fingertips. He was losing his memory and talking less and less during those days, but in that moment I knew, for certain, that he hadn’t forgotten how to listen, that some things we just carry in our guts, and it doesn’t require us to remember because they’ll always be there.