Sam’s new beginning

In the beginning of the traditional new year, Sam Lovelace began preparations for a project that would last one year and result in her getting rid of 80% of her belongings. The project is very ritualistic in nature and has to do with lightness and letting go of her difficult past. After four months of preparation the official beginning of the project came on May 1st of this year, what she calls her new year. The most difficult part comes first. In a very intimate setting with only her husband, a close friend, and me overseeing the event, she burned all of her most important and sentimental possessions. Everything that she had held onto from her childhood and through the years. Letters from boyfriends, an obituary of a close friend, pictures… all of the things that were most tied to memories all went up in flames. On the day of the burning, I asked Sam how she felt, to which she replied, “Elated!” She remarked again and again about how a huge burden had been lifted off of her. However she also described it as an emotional cocktail. There is of course strong emotions tied to each of the items that she burned. She laughed as she read old love notes and paused for moments of reflection before incinerating irreplaceable pieces of her past. Sam is planning on making a book about the experience after it’s completion in May of 2010.
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Illicit outdoors

A few days ago I got a call from Rob asking if I wanted to go to a swimming hole. It was raining, but I’m optimistic. He picked Kristen and I up, scooped Kevin from his house, and headed toward Lake Lure. Lake Lure is a touristy kind of area where they filmed Dirty Dancing and Last of the Mohicans.
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Rob knew about this swimming hole called the bottomless pools. It is illegal to swim there or even go there when it’s closed, but I think it’s been out of business for a bit so we barged it.
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It was three consecutive waterfalls cascading into small circular pools which were apparently bottomless.
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After we got our fill of sliding over waterfalls and then got our fill of less than satisfactory deli sandwiches at a local tourist trap, we decided to head to some nearby caves that Rob had been to.
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When we got there we found a sign saying that it was illegal to go in the caves because you could either get diseases from the bats or the bats could get diseases from you… I’m not sure which, but illegal activities in the outdoors was kind of the theme of the day, so we hiked on.
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Some of the passages were so narrow that I couldn’t fit through with my backpack and had to pass it through. Kristen also had some trouble squeezin’ her hips through some parts. It was pretty intense climbing both physically and psychologically. It’s pitch dark, it’s claustrophobic even if you’re not, and who knows what kind of bad diseases the open wound on my arm was picking up…
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As if it wasn’t sketchy enough as it was, Rob decided to try this death leap. Come up short, broken legs, over shoot… Game over.
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The rock that his left hand is on seemed to be suspended in mid air.
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There was a buzzard nest right above where we were handing out.
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Pretty exhausting day, but well worth it. Another dip in the river was very necessary when we got back to civilization.