Archive for February, 2008

Tomorrow’s Wind

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on February 20, 2008 by rodzink

The treetops were bowing…leaning….in respect to the strong winds. It was cold…outside. I stared out the window of the old victorian home, converted to downtown office. I was inside. Hardwood floors. Ornate trim…. stuffy lawyers, each with their game plan. All this..and $375/hr…for me. My ex-significant other arrived as if she thought a photographer would be present. I scanned the room in search of a picture, or sculpture… anything that resembled a peak… a river….. an eagle.. A means of disappearing for the next few hours. I found nothing. Again, returning to the windows….the trees…. clouds… they moved across the sky with expedience..on their way somewhere…. They blew in from the west…from the gorge…
Baker, Belle and I lay on our backs in a small hardwood clearing. We stared up at the sky, naming the clouds… a rabbit… crocodile… a chicken on a skateboard.. They laughed aloud…at times, uncontrollably…. We followed each cloud across the sky, until it disappeared beyond the mountain… Never to return. Belle added her 1st grade knowledge of the water cycle and how the clouds carried the water until the time came to give it back to the earth. “Our lives are like this, Belle,” I attempted. Once we take a step….or float across the sky…. we make our marks, our comments, impressions… it can never be taken back… We cannot return. Our words and acts can make everlasting impressions on those around us. It can be warm, good things…..or sad things that we may carry forever…. Like the cloud, taking on different shapes, disappear across the horizon. I looked up and watched the lion pass. I wished for a moment that I had no memory of the passing clouds.
I listened intently to attorneys…the mediator… and tried not to look at her. She was 11 years of my world… home… children… Today, I was reminded that she was but a cloud… caught up in a turbulent world…swept away on a random breeze…a shape that I could provide with a childlike name of my choosing. Soon, she would disappear behind the mountain…. across the horizon…. never to return. But along the way… the cycle.. Warren Baker…Annabelle Elizabeth…. returning to the earth… this thirsty soil… The wind ceased. I turned back to the mountains wondering what tomorrow’s wind would bring… in what shape would it be….


Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on February 17, 2008 by rodzink

Their white tails raised high to signal one another, the deer sprinted across the hollow.¬† One by one, they crossed the creek and paused before ascending the slope, disappearing into the pine.¬† The wind in my favor, they never detected my whereabouts. Belle sat motionless beside me. Forced patience…Watching. I counted eight.¬†Moments afterwards, Baker’s voice echoed down the hillside. He had seen them and gave desperate attempt to follow closely. I watched him crouch behind an hundred year old white oak and strain to find the deer. His cousins caught up and sat in the leaves. Briefly silent. I listened to them begin to talk as their words and laughter carried their youth… excitement….innocence. The momentary focus a vapor; the object of their focus…gone…. like the whitetail.
The day falsely hinted the arrival of spring. Premature buds on maples. Bluebirds….. the crocus in full bloom… Beneath a white pine, in the acidic, dark soil and moss, I stooped and ran my hands through the pipsisewah. Dark green… verigated. My mind ventured to her. I had to smile.
Belle stretched, dry leaves stuck in her pony-tail; she meandered slowly up the path, which followed the backboned ridge leading west into the flats. A view off both sides, revealed the work of pine beetles, opening the hardwood forest. Oaks and Poplars, now prevalent, would own the upper canopy in coming months. Acorns were as scarce this season as the early autumn muscadine.
The sound of running water….cool air…. exposed rock. At the entrance of the cave, I paused to remember my childhood. It’s here we hiked… camped… wrote our names on the walls… talked of that which we had no idea. Clueless kids. Naive dreams. At 10 years old, I carried an Ithaca 12-gauge here and sat for hours. That shotgun represented responsibility… freedom… a father’s trust.. a mother’s anxiety… Today, my siblings… their children… my children…hiked. Belle and Baker were surrounded…. encapsulated… loved… protected… They owned one another… shared traits… character… affection.
I was comforted watching them belly-crawl….one by one… like the whitetail… through a small portal to an open room inside the cave. Hands and knees… through water… Each looking back with the flashlight…signaling one another as to what awaited in the darkness. Again, I counted eight. I missed Morgan.
As natural as the wood in which we sat, their relationships differ than that of friends… Family… shared flesh and bone…. blood. Today I was glad that I have them… that Belle and Baker have them….. Played hard…. laughed loudly… hugged goodbye…. Belle and Baker both tucked under each arm, I awoke holding them both…tightly… and tried to follow the rythm of their deep breathing.

Just be Brave…just be brave…

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on February 3, 2008 by rodzink

I watched them climb up the rocks… almost crawling, fueled by a mixture of desire and adrenaline. Roots jutted out of the rocks, offering random holds. I climbed behind them, fully expecting them to turn around. They forged ahead, offering each other a hand as needed. We were headed to the tunnels… flashlight…chalk…..250 ft into the darkness…alone…they wanted to write their names on the wall.

My mind raced back to a hot August friday night as we sat on the front row of the Mountain Opry. A small-town Tennessee bluegrass band stood on the stage. Belle sat on the edge of her seat, bouncing her little feet, almost coming out of her sandals. I heard the soft repeated chant….”just be brave…just be brave….just be brave….” Suddenly, and without any forewarning, she jumped from her seat and sprinted to the stage. Immediately, she was barefoot and dancing wildly behind the group. An audience of about 200 onlookers began cheering, applauding, and cameras flashed. My then 6 year old, was alone… on a stage… her grin was comparable only to her confidence. I watched my daughter… dance. She danced like the band was there for her…like the crowd came just to see her.
The cave entrances are straight verticle descents… Small openings that seem to shrink. I watched her peer down into the gaps while her brother disappeared beneath the surface. His voice no longer discernable. It occured to me at that moment how brave they were; for courage is impossible without first experiencing fear. The ground seemed to swallow her as she descended. Her laughter… medicinal. Belle climbed with new courage.
Before her… obstacles… experiences…life. Everyday, she’ll be bombarded with this onslaught we consider living. I sat in the boulders and simply listened. I strained to hear the voice of angels. I heard my children. The sounds of their laughter.. their conversations.. their playing.
Sitting on the side of the bed, I watched her sleep. Her little face still resembles that of an infant… cherry-nose… messy hair.. She seems so fragile…so timid. But I think back on the day…. I have no doubt that her spirit is still on the mountain…climbing.

Ground Hawg Day

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on February 3, 2008 by rodzink