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David and I both knew that the end was near. It's raining in the Chattahoochee National Forest, the kind of cold rain that sings like a siren, seducing and inviting one to withdraw from the light, airy, cathedral of the mind, to descend into the sweet, watery depths of the soul. He and I were sitting under a tarp, shelter from the rain, huddling around the small, smoky fire that served to dissolve the boundary between us. It was David's 100th day in our wilderness therapy program, each of the previous days stretching through time, falling through space until they collected into a large pool, which seemed to be the totality of his young life. Each of these days, in recollection, seemed to be a journey of sorts through all the kingdoms of possible human experience: the outer darkness of parental betrayal, the scented oasis of joy, the citadel of teenage power and the open road of freedom. Yet, on this 100th day, here we were in the most unexpected of domains, the graveyard of grief and loss. David had received the news that his departure from the wilderness was imminent and he was soon to be entering into the next phase of life, a school with all the comforts that wilderness lacked. I expected relief and exultation, for David had planted his standard around his own sovereignty and spent a good part of his 100 days, raging against the starkness of wilderness and the injustice of it all and yet, David cried. It was, like on this January day, a cry that started as a gentle, soft rain, quickly progressing to an intense downpour fed from the wellspring of his grieving heart. As much as David had longed for this day and the news of his liberation, he was devastated at the idea of leaving. 


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