Archive for January, 2008

God’s Palm

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on January 24, 2008 by rodzink

I sat on the hardwood floor between the two small beds.  The room glowed with the soft light of a long strand of ladybugs.  Soft light that neither Baker nor Belle would close their eyes until I plugged them in.  The ceiling glowed with store-bought stars.  They were now asleep…..  dreaming…..somewhere on the mountain.  Annabelle’s closing words tonight were, “let’s go back to the blue-hole.”  I laughed and reminded her that the temperature outside was 18F. “Let’s find another place tonight, but let me know where……”  Her little grip eventually loosened. 

I sat in the dark for awhile.  We have spent so much time in the mountains, perhaps running, keeping our minds occupied……. building our strength…  Preparing for what lies ahead in their near future.  I sat in the dark too long.  Unprepared.  In disbelief….. I thought of the sounds outside the tent…. Unidentifiable…. When the wind blows down the ravine and the noises that await just outside the glow of the campfire frighten… The kids pull closer to me… I’ve heard the noises, have the life experiences… the ability to try and process… I have to remember that neither Belle nor Baker are able to do so. It’s my job…my responsibility…duty… to hold them. To keep them safe.

Their backpacks rested at the foot of each bed. Preparedness. My children have taught me… given me strength…. and hope. It is time I begin living by the words that I teach and taking that which the path allows. I have to know that the trails we walk are the ones meant for us to journey… Tailored for us.
Kissing each of them, I discovered that I am anxious for the trail that comes tomorrow. Eager to conquer…willing to perservere….able to endure. Looking at my sleeping children.. I am reminded that there are no choices. Pick up my heavy pack and set the course… the pace…

Baker’s Whisper

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , on January 18, 2008 by rodzink

Passing the waterfall, which seemed to suddenly appear from the rock, I dared to imagine the thoughts of Moses and the desert wanderers. Water poured forth from nothing and roared the ordinarily dry ravine. I sat for awhile and listened. Stared up into the cold morning sky. Intentionally, I tried to dream.. bring the darkness… end the loneliness… summons my children. Today, I hike alone. Turning to look up the mountain, the bluff line barely visible through the barren wood, I sought to find a distant ledge, where nothing could reach me….And where I could always be found.
The mountain greeted..accepted each step, welcoming…knowing. Each step represented pursuit and, yet….escape. Glancing over my shoulder, afraid that it may catch up to me, I watch time chasing far behind. I stay one step before it, but eversofar behind that which I pursue. She lies just beyond the next flat…over the next outcropping… I climb. Each ledge reveals the lie and, yet, the promise that the next will be my last to scale. I cannot seem to rest for fear of what is ahead. Angels certainly watch my steps, guiding me to my destination that I must hurry to find. I must learn to trust…practice faith… These steps are not my own. Each day passes and disappears, irretrievable….irreversible. Today will never return;I will relive her moment, however, daily. My journey, yet close, is aimlessly spent awaiting fate’s calling. I listen intently with every breath. Silence. Sometimes I listen until I can almost hear her faint voice. This is all I need to continue. My days are outlived.
I climb to the highest ledge and share the solitude of seraphim. Weary…warm… The sky turns grey and the first sign of evening seeps into the gorge, forcing light to retreat across the river until she vanishes. Closing my eyes, I strain to hold them….watch them… Time overruns me as I hear Baker’s whisper, “Goodbye, Daddy. I’ll see you in the gorge.”

The Coyote

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , on January 5, 2008 by rodzink

I leaned against the canoe beneath thick wool. Behind me, the crackling of a small fire. Flames leapt from her…searching…reaching out and not returning as a deserting memory. The glowing embers have consumed her…. Nearly gone now. I strain to….. but decide otherwise and return to the comfort of the wood, the river, the gorge… The palm of God’s Hand. Nothing can snatch me from here.
Across the gorge, the piercing cries of a sole coyote. Baker sits up in his sleeping bag and stares with sleepy eyes across the black water, the emptiness separating him from the intention of her yelps. I smile as the song continues. “You cannot satisfy her hunger, son,” I finally whisper. He rolls over, and closer to his sister, returning to his dream. My words to him refuse to leave me for I’ve heard them before.
As darkness fades, so will her song of desperation and morning brings stillness to the river…to the mountain… granting asylum. The cries are hushed. She has found comfort. More importantly, we have found relief. As the first sign of light begins to wake the October sky, I have to smile, as I know the coyote is still out there only to return another night. I am reminded of the expanse she has to negotiate, however. The gulf between us is unsurpassable. She cannot, without immense difficulty, reach us
But for now, Baker and Belle are in a place, unscathed….not of human hands… I watch them both sleep and pray to follow where they tread… But I have not been invited on this night’s venture. Neither dream nor slumber found favor in me. It was intended that I hear the words of the coyote.

Siblings

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on January 5, 2008 by rodzink
Quiet steps on freshly wetted leaves. Backpacks. The faint smell of last nights campfire burned into our bodies. The trail rule, help your sister (DragonFly) if she’s behind you; Follow your brother (Flying Squirrel) across the creek. He knows the stones. Stop ahead to peer down into the Gorge at the river 2000 ft below. This dream’s excursion is still further up..where the water is clear and cold.. the balcony of jutting boulders where angels perch awaits. But we must push on… morning approaches as a thief to steal our slumberous time together. One last glimpse around….. Time to start our day…
Baker… Annabelle… I’ll see you again tonight… Sweet dreams.

Baker and Belle

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on January 2, 2008 by rodzink

The Passage

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , , , on January 1, 2008 by rodzink

The thick fog began to lift unveiling the ravine, carved by a typically subtle force whose patience ran thin. Once, two decades ago, an unimaginable force of earth, rock and water poured down the mountainside. She rests now. Lethargic. Dormant.
The kids stood at the base of the mountain and peered up into the fog. Eager to explore. Baker strapped on his pack and helped Belle with hers….the law of the trail. It’s on these treks where we occasion rites of passage…. gateways…. leave our marks….take our memories. I stopped to look into the eyes of my children and realized that the three of us are not only making memories but giving them as well. As I walk this earth with them, my steps…actions….words…. are etched into a place where only they may journey. Inasmuch, I will carry them to a place that time cannot tarnish… A place where time’s pursuit is exhausted.
The creek is trickling, yet the green rock challenges each step, forcing us to struggle out of the ravine to the ridge. To our left, hardwood flats and hollows; to our backs, the river…. Everything before us… the wind in the trees….the water… the brow above… I paused to turn around and look back into the valley. To see where we have been…where we began….how far we have come… The obstacles that lie behind are equally important as those that await us. We are blessed with the view, yet reluctant to look back at it.
Baker leads us into a place where rocks seem to simply appear. He climbs with hands…feet…heart… I smile as he turns and offers a sibling’s hand to Belle, who submissively receives it. She leans back as he pulls her. Trust. Loyalty… Commitment.
We reach the West Tunnel..moss covered… out of place. Its origin and purpose a mystery; But here it is, contrasting, yet compromising with the surrounding landscape. The kids sat in the entrance and shared a quick snack…a drink… They laugh and play as only children can. I leaned against a tree and absorbed the sounds around me… Running water…wind…birds…laughter… Contrasting….compromising.
We venture deeper into the tunnel and watch light yield to darkness…sound to silence. Closer, they cling to me beneath each arm as I attempt to pull them closer still…. It’s warm. Quiet…. Belle’s tiny face resting on my shoulder… Tangled hair…. Quiet.