Jacob Lowe

Published ● 3 min read

Compass of Narvil

I sat cramped in the backseat of my grandfather’s truck. My grandpa, my cousin, and I were on our way to spread my great grandmother’s ashes in Bishop, California. A trip, full of spooky stories and encounters with wild nature. My love for nature grew on the journey from the star-filled nights. I learned many things from my grandfather in Bishop; little did I know to the extent that knowledge would be.

On one of the days, we went on a small hike. It was nothing special, to me at the time, just a wander through the brush. The walk was short, or just as long as my grandfather was able to put up with my cousin and me. I remember there was a point in the hike where we had stopped near a river and after passing some cows. The air was dry, and you could hear subtle songs of insects. Under the beating sun, we sat at this place for what seemed like only a few seconds. I believe it was half to catch our breaths, but also there was a tension in the air you could run your hand through it.

I could sense there was something up with my grandfather. My grandfather’s eyes became watery. I remember the exact moment he threw his mothers ashes into the bush towards the river. At first, when thinking about how the ashes were spread, I felt awkward and thought it was because we were in a rush to get back to camp. Reflecting on that moment, I see these were purely my feeling and not my grandfather’s.

Looking back, I did notice all the pain he was going through and the closure he was having. At my age, at the time, I just did not know how to interpret it. How tough of a moment it was for my grandfather. At that riverside, my grandfather was laying his mother to rest. She was once separated from nature to be reunited with the earth at that moment. He experienced emotional distress, a pain of letting go of a loved one, untethering his soul from what was an anchor in his life.

The trip was one of only a few camping trips I got to experience with my grandfather. He is the one that introduced me to nature. How to coexist and be part of the planet. He, on that day, gave me an essential lesson on how to grieve. It’s painful, it may seem awkward, but ultimately we need to let go.

Losing my grandfather, Narvil Lowe has made me reflect on these moments. It is painful, so damn painful. I have learned to take these moments and use them to point my compass in the right direction. I will miss you, grandpa.

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