Seventeen…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch on July 17, 2015 by rodzink

I watched him back out of the driveway this afternoon as he headed out for work…and caught myself running down 17 years.. I remember the ride home from the hospital when he was born and that I went directly to my grandfather’s house: Pop.  Edward Franklin Baker.  I’ll not forget those beautiful old eyes when he held Baker for the first time.  It was not until I had my first born, that I realized everything had changed.  For the first time in my life…all my dreams…my hopes…my plans…were directed elsewhere.  I had become a new creature…something more than a man… a Father.

I blinked today…and my little boy went from giggles to a grown up… training wheels to that big red truck… from hugging me like a child.. to wrapping his arms around me…. like a friend.  Suddenly, this afternoon, I find myself unable to do anything… but think of him….. this young man… whom changed my path. I am so very proud to be his Dad….and celebrate this birthday weekend.  Happy Birthday, Baker. I love you so much.

 

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Dogwood Winter…….

Posted in Where Angels Perch on April 4, 2015 by rodzink

This cool breeze…whisping.  The chime…Hindu elephants and bells… on the porch… the new leafs on the cherry tree and hydrangeas…the Dogwood turned pink overnight.  Inside the house.. a sound I haven’t heard for years, but familiar enough to recognize age old visions…  I recall standing on many mountains, staring off into green valleys… looking over streams….. gazing into a thousand fires…  Ninja Turtles… the sound of Ninja Turtles.

My big kids… working now…. spending more time with friends… at the mall….  I sat up last night, struggling not to fall asleep, until Baker got home from his afterschool job. Proud of him.  I’ve seen so many..so very many… “next steps.”  Watched my kids grow…. their interests develop.  Time… letting go… and not wanting to.  Sometimes, I squeeze my eyes shut…tightly… and venture back… I can still see Belle…freckles… Chacos…. standing knee deep in Buster Creek… Baker.. steadying a rifle….. or striking flint to start a fire…. many nights, nestled in a tent…. They may never know what those days have meant to me…and why I venture into their rooms at night….. just to see them….look into their faces… trace the lines…. listen to their voices.

My mom always told me there were three winters….. She could tell me when they began on the first day…. Early spring… hinted at warmer days… walks on the river…. the grass turning green… redbud…. Out of nowhere, a cold snap…. we always had to dig out a jacket…or sweatshirt…. And just as it did this morning.. the Dogwood buds would erupt in beautiful pink…..  Dogwood Winter.  It’s all warm days from here…until the day before the blackberries bloom.

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Like those small buds on my Pink Dogwood…. on the beautiful cherry tree…. Aaiden Grei…. Aashir Rais…. I’ve become that old stalwart… stubborn… oak among the hardwood.  I remember the open hardwood flats on the top of Aetna Mountain, where I have walked many miles… hung many tree stands…. warmed myself with my brother near countless campfires…. Towering Oak and Hickory… Poplar and Hawthorne….. each spring brought the life below to a green…new….life.  These two little boys.. tender… saplings…. new life… my boys.  I get to watch them sprout. I have the unique perch…and view… to peer down at them.  I have been here… I know how the days can pour through clasped hands…. I recognize the grey on my own head….. the aging shell over this fragile soul… I know…full well.. the path… the slippery rocks… the cold wind….. but that view along the way… the innate…familiarity…. of a warm fire… the sound of sleeping kids… laughter…. carved names along the Cumberland.  Etched names on the trunk of this old tree….. Baker… Annabelle… Aashir Rais… Aaiden Grei…

This morning… the Dogwood…. just outside my kitchen window… is a radiant pink…. I catch myself looking at it each time enter the kitchen to refill my coffee… Ninja Turtles movie in the background…. Dogwood Winter

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the Gulf

Posted in Where Angels Perch on January 4, 2015 by rodzink

……Fog clung to the leafless landscape as a protective shawl from the mist, which seemed to hover…not fall.  Somewhere off into the canyon, the relentless roar of a river hurrying to escape the mountain, in pursuit of some unknown and peaceful reservoir, rolled like a hungry creature.

Unfurling before us…several miles of path…skirted river and gorge.  Quiet…padded footsteps… broken occasionally with the sound of teenage chatter…laughter…. from somewhere spread out along the trail behind me.

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….time to think….reflect…. gather memories…. and dream of tomorrows.  This journey began so long ago…fitting backpacks and carefully determining distance…weight….endurance of small children.  Now, as I hear their echoed voices through the hardwoods… as I grin at their almost natural familiarity with the environment… this was their childhood…. it is carved into their being… hearts….souls.  I can smile.

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I can spend my steps now… simply walking… and thinking about the next step….. Back at home, safely inside a warm home….two more little boys… unknowingly groomed for the trail… My steps may be slower…more deliberate….cautious in those years ahead..but steps, nonetheless.

In these mountains…. I’ve walked…explored….bedded down….most of my life.  At the edge of a foggy ravine….we gather for a rest… a quick snack…. idle talk…. As they depart, I quickly carve my name into tree, as I’ve done many times.  Perhaps, someday… they’ll find it… perhaps, one day, they’ll find our names etched along the Cumberland.  Perhaps, they’ll tell stories to their little brothers… and to their children…about our adventures…our miles on the trail… our starlit nights on October weekends….. perhaps, the smell of rain…of sassafras…of cowboy coffee…. will make them smile…cry….remember….

On my way home…. back to smaller awaiting boys….and unfitted packs…. unearthed adventures… These trails are immortal… and waiting…calling… life is so fantastic….

Aaiden Grei

Posted in Where Angels Perch on April 13, 2014 by rodzink

…holding a child for the first time…like the very heart from your own chest…carefully placed in your hands… The life…the tiny, fragile person…given to us…. Humbling…frightening…. This child…this little boy… Aaiden Grei…

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Sitting on my porch today…this beautiful spring Palm Sunday. The birch and dogwood bearing tiny leaves…the colony of Martins have returned early…I can hear the steady hum of carpenter bees… A warm breeze…an angel’s gentle sigh… My sleeping little boy…

My mind and dreams racing…familiar thoughts….times…to hikes…fishing….campfires…The sun breaks through the sporadically cloudy sky… Smiling….approving…comforting.

Aaiden Grei…. My third son….my fourth child….my hopes….dreams….steps…are now yours….

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tomorrow….

Posted in Where Angels Perch on August 3, 2013 by rodzink

….and then… it was simply…. tomorrow…. I had sat through those nights… sleeping kids… coffee…. back porch.  Straining to hear not-so-distant coyotes.  …. the freedom… stars appearing and ducking behind passing clouds… far from sound and song.  But like a wound without memory.. and recollection….. after the ground beneath rolled over and over… I find myself facing an incredible sunrise.  

Warm…. breeze… God whispering my name…. almost audibly… recognizably…. a voice I’ve known… heard…. strained to remember…. then reminded of His stalwart presence even in my absence… the path leading through rushing waters and steep ravine… to this meadow.

 

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Maji….

Posted in Where Angels Perch on May 12, 2013 by rodzink

I owe so much….. and am so grateful…  The thought that I’d ever have this… that my children would feel this…never crossed my mind….  I didn’t even hope for it… dream of it… The notion was simply lost… But to watch this unfold…. transpire…. grow….bloom….blossom…. has been a lesson I needed…. Now, it’s Mothers’ Day…. I couldn’t ask for a better Mother for these kids….  Thank You……  

Faranah jaan…. thanks for putting on the boots…the backpacks…. paddling… sitting on concrete to watch games…. sacrificing yourself… your time… and giving them the love they needed…. we needed…. ImageImageImageImage

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Time….

Posted in Where Angels Perch on January 19, 2013 by rodzink

I sat across the room….listening…. watching…. fully consuming the words…. the laughter…. all the time that had passed…. hovering like a dense fog… wanting to be consumed.  Time passes so quickly…. with no chance for recovery…. 

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It’s been years…. many years…. I remember running around the neighborhood with cousins in Miami… far from our Tennessee home… leaving behind the winter coats and gloves….to trade temporarily for shorts….tees….. cousins.  

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The days from then….to now… are forever lost…somewhere…. Yet, the memories are there…here…with me….  As I get older…. strange how things change… how I want so terribly to ensure those bonds….the memories… the opportunities…. are available.  Now…. just realizing how quickly those bonds are created… the bond of family…friends….blood… how important it is.