Family History

Sometimes I miss raising a family, more than anything. I know, kids grow up, and I’m fine with that. But, I always had in my mind, the golden years, when the kids had left home, to free wheel with my sweetie, maybe travel, or just have coffee. We would sit and watch the old challenges fade away, while watching our babies in the world. I guess, what I miss most, is just having someone to talk with, to go for walks with.

Chatted with a friend last year who said he’s like me, not know what he would do. He doesn’t know how to set up social situations. But, you know, he told me that he was stepping down from some of the volunteer and paid work he had been doing for years, to work on his marriage. I nearly cried. I’m happy for him.

I guess I’ll just have to figure things out on my own, sooner or later. I’m not a big fan of dating, in case you didn’t catch that, previously.

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Last Step

Last step from humanity

People here showed

Me mercy, I ruined

I was already damaged

And late for something

Parts

He takes his coffee out on the porch, east winds mostly barricaded by trees and the small rise that keep his view from the house, not a quarter mile away. Set on the wooden steps, he cradles his mug, uncertain winds tussling his hair, dark eyes fixed on darkening southern horizon, as waters rise in gunmetal gray. Heavy cloud towers slide across moody skies as his involuntary sips dress motion and mind, until reality gets squeezed out by dark brewed thought.

Light that had percolated his mind turns to doubt, knowing he had once again arranged his private world against him, filling with anger and frustration. Why should it be so hard? Pushing away thoughts of the dancer, his mind starts to hide. He was better off alone…

“That’s it!”

He throws out the rest of the coffee, swinging his mug with heavy steps across creaking deck, he flings open the screen door. Heaving the storm door, it slams to shake the cabin, shifting and settling small items on shelves and pantry. Somewhere, a small stone rolls off the side table, hits the floor, rolling just under the unmade bed.

The wind picks up, with great gusts, bringing thunder in the distance, squalls carrying darkening skies. Though he doesn’t notice at first, until the old cedar off his porch gives way in weak soils, pulling the roots from the earth as it is thrown down by raging forces. Torrents followed, beating the forest and cabin from the side, driven by insatiable gales.

He pushes the windows open to grab the shudders, fighting them into place and barring them closed. Sitting on the floor under the weathered table, he holds back sobs, holding himself as best he can, as usual. His world has gone back to the warmth it has been, not realized the coldness of it.

“She’s better off…”

It’s true, though, when he doesn’t have anyone to think about, life is easier. He can live with the moments of loneliness. But the exchange is for a bit more anger, a bit of loss, not noticed from day to day, slowly carving away his reality, until this.

“Dancing…”

Another Part

She left the house unlocked, without a thought, grabbing a notebook to step out into the golden light of freshness. The meadow opened up with tufts of long sedges and grasses, dewy with sparkles as she stopped to release herself. Her cheerful mind brought a smile with her liberation of the cold workings of processes designed for others and their dreams. At last, even in her success, she is finding a depth of peace she had always wondered about.

Finding a stump she sits to write in her notebook. She is ready to commence, there and then, but changed, setting one word on her page. It is a name. A pause and the words of a bluejay pull her attention. Setting the notebook down, she stands and prepares for the fox walk.

She was taught as he was, body relaxed, eyes soft, widen gaze, notice breath. Right away, the beauty of the woods becomes saturated with being as she takes her first step. Lifting her leg up, like a dancer, not watching her path directly, but peripherally, moves her foot ahead and sets the ball on the soft turf, rolling back to the heel. So quiet in her step, only the chickadee notices her motion. Each footfall is a work of art, each breath part of the environment, as her mind blends. Awareness is key.

The life around her shows itself as breeze becomes breath, channeled down a line of balsam to a young aspen, whose little oval leaves quiver in the delight, flickering fresh green and crispy shuffling rustle. Dewdrops bring spectrum sparkle to her easy steps, as she glides unheeded through channels of trees, in a world of deep quality of time rich with presence. Everything is moving!

From her eyes, she senses the world moving past her, as she observes and rides, finding her path from an inward place. I always knew. Stopping, looking back, she is in a new place, and yet found. Tracing back moments to her notebook, she sits down to write.

Twilight Ridge

Last summer, she lived in high country. My younger daughter worked outside Estes Park, at a bed and breakfast. At the end, it was my task to bring her home. We camped a few days before hitting the road.

Camping on the edge of a vast glacial valley, we set chairs to overlook the braided streams, meandering the gold and greens of the wide space, giving us an opportunity to dream. In the center of grasses and wetlands was a rocky knoll with a stand of pine. This would be our place.

No one traveled there, because of the streams, which we forded with care, keeping clothes and pack dry. With our hike came easy conversation, as it was trusted. And we know each other very well, stepping through course brush and up crushed granite soils to stone and tree, to settle with books and snacks, until my eyes pulled at my forehead, in not so subtle intrusion. So came, in golden late day sun, a peaceful sleep at the base of sentinel trees.

Easing toward evening she suggested we drive to the ridge and watch the stars arrive.

Back, then, to bring dinner to the mountain tops. Have you never been to the Colorado Rockies, you have never seen the spine of North America, raised and running as fingers and arms embracing this western world. To drive the Trail Ridge Road is to work the mettle of the flatlander, with quick switchbacks and thousand foot drops. So I let her drive.

At the end of our day, we found a widening on the roadside to set the Prius, while we watched each moment approach, and appropriate quiet meshed with the peace of the tundra, as warm orange, green and tan textures flooded with shadow.

And with the dusk, came twilight, whose blanket tricks the eye, bringing unseen image designed to unhinge belief and reason. A spark to look at will disappear. But to the peaceful gaze, each point can be counted, as colder spirits ride down peaks, finding gaps in sweatshirts and jackets, adding crispness to the night and clarity to vision. This was a moment.

And so we close the night. I drive down. She picks Pink Floyd as well as Simon and Garfunkel. She makes me laugh with her eclecticism.

Camp felt a bit warmer that night, as we chatted about the friends she made through the summer, and how they would be missed.

The next day, back to the Great Plains.

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Another Quick Note

It was the painkillers, designed to make me happy

Took me a day or so, but reigned my spirit as

I stopped only to have it draw me back

Taking all my will to not take another pill

“When is the last time I’ve been happy?”

Ahhh! Don’t listen!

That low point may have suggested I bear them all

So I save them, still feeling the magnetism, like never before!

‘Cause I get aches from time to time

This year has been wild as no other

And a moment of bliss was counter intuitive

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Storms

I cross my own signals

Is it a surprise?

I guess it kind of is

That a man my age

Doesn’t have more than

A few minutes of wisdom.

I won’t be a trouble

Bumping into others

While I try to gain my balance.

But if it were not too much

To meet me down the road some?

The road we walk

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