Archive for December, 2007

The Tree

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , , , , , on December 23, 2007 by rodzink

The rumbling idle of the ATVs broke the silence of the damp afternoon. A light mist seemed to simply hover..not fall. Baker slipped on his helmet and stared impatiently at me while Belle and I retrieved the axe from the truck. She climbed on the front of my bike.. then moved to the back.. now, back to the front. Excited.. Little girls.
Twenty years ago, I had set forth on this same trek to find a Christmas tree. The memories are precious. Strangely, each time I journey back to that day, there is yet another different memory. My hope is that my children will do the same as they grow up. Traditions.
I gave Baker the nod and he clicked his Honda into gear. The trail is winding and constantly climbing. To the right, a consistent vista of the valley below. Fields. Creeks.. Houses.. I follow closely to watch his every movement, his choice of ruts, rocks….. He occassionally looks back over his shoulder for reassurance. Perhaps, he’s awaiting approval..or needs the comfort of my being there. He gets both. Today is his first solo trip up the mountain. The point in his life.. my life.. where the grip loosens. Baker.. little boy….little man. He still believes that I am capable of protecting him from all things..little boy… It’s days like this one where I begin to realize that the closer he becomes to a man, the less capable I am.
Neither Baker nor Belle can see them… Angels sit in every bend of the trail. Wings back like an eagle diving into a mountain lake. They watch. The older I get, the more I’ve realized that, although they are waiting, they may not interfere at the exact time of our approval. The kids will learn patience here. Learn to trust… to believe. I grin as I pass them.
Belle leans back into me. Her little body resting against my chest. Her hair just under my chin. She looks up and reminds me… “I love you, Daddy.” Angels.
We arrive a stand of hardwood where the mountain plateaus. The leaves have returned to the ground, allowing us to see deep into the wood. Baker, axe over his shoulder, begins down a shallow hollow where he is certain of a suitable Christmas tree. Strained eyes scan for greenery. Scattered, immature white pines become the temporarily futile object of their search. We need a thick spruce….a cedar… hemlock. I am comforted. I’m celebrating Christmas at this very moment. Our time together. The memories we can create far out lasts…out performs…outlives the gifts they will receive. My gift is simply locked away for eternity; In a place that will not allow it to fade, become obscure…disappear.
Swing the axe carefully, son. Watch out for your sister…. swing….the room was warm…the new tree was modestly decorated with one strand of lights.. Still wet from the wood. Wrapped in my blanket before the tree, Baker..Belle… sleeping. I wonder if they’re still on the mountain.

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Down the Gorge

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , , , on December 15, 2007 by rodzink

The canoe split the water, forging a silky path through the gorge. high above on either side, the ledges cast shadowy reflections…dancing images on our proud wake. The wind passed through Annabelle’s hair, whispering the silent praise of the river. She smiled back at me with glistening blue eyes, m ore brilliant than the final descent of a September sun. Ahead, a heron’s wings placed hushed ripples on the water as he crossed, announcing his displeasure of our interrupting his motionless pursuit of prey.
Paddle lightly, Baker. Stay near the bank.
Our destination is around the next point. The upper deck of a boat exposed. The Sunken Treasure Ship… Baker named and explored her previously, dreaming of modern river pirates and hidden fortunes. She had sunk years before and rested firmly on the muddy river bottom. Annabelle anxiously sat up on her knees in the canoe’s belly, preparing to scramble up the side and onto the deck.
We sat. Silent. Across the wide straight, a murder of crows swarmed the treetops until the hawk..finally provoked…succumbed to their nagging caws. Graceful…poerful…confident… she left her roost as the crows gave unenthusiastic chase. Baker commented that he would love to be the hawk. To me… she represented strength..freedom..solitude. Baker simply saw flight.
Suddenly, he was flying… on the wings of an angel… sleep faded… His eyes.. huge.. full of life..and awake.. looked up at me.. grinning.

The Shore

Posted in Where Angels Perch on December 8, 2007 by rodzink

I’m adrift on the horizon….treading..kicking… pulled by an unseen, however, tugging current. The attempts to focus are becoming weaker. Without warning, the shoreline is gone. Vanished. The faces are etched in my mind. I simply want to swim harder..hold on to something that is falsely anchored into a sandy, eroding beach. The shoreline possessed no outstretched hand…no safety line.
Keep swimming.
Faint voices from afar..but unable to determine the direction..distance. Laughter, singing, celebrating…. No, different voices now.. childlike… quietely sobbing…hurting…calling.
Kick harder..
Fatigue and pain… Pleading…..Mother Mary. But, at that moment, I realize all I have has already been given.. or taken…If there were purpose, I would willingly offer myself as a surety. I am left alone with my convictions, conscience, character. My remaining possessions. If I made it back to shore, of what value am I with these gifts. The voices.. childlike…calling..