Archive for Baker Zink

14….

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on July 20, 2012 by rodzink

Dear Son,

I’ve saved every memory…every mental note…every hug…. moment… and tucked them away.  From the time when you needed my hand to hold so you could wobble on toddler’s legs… needed me to push you in the swing… hold up your bike… place your fingers on the stitches of your first football…. steady your own rifle….drive for the first time…. I’ve still got all those moments…and carry them each and every day. 

 

 

I want you to know that no matter your age…. your abilities… your self-awareness…. and independence… you are my little boy.  When you’re bigger than me….taller than me… stronger than me…. I will still carry you in my heart with the strength of a mighty oak.  There is nothing more important to me….

Now, it’s yet another birthday… Enjoy these days…. they pass quickly…quietly…and are irretrievable.  Make each step you take be towards something useful…each word you speak be spoken with care and intent….each embrace you give be given with sincerity… Every night, when you finish your day…be thankful for it…. be proud of it… then tuck it away…. Look on each tomorrow with hope… improve your life…seek out precious moments… carry honor….respect….compassion with you that they may become part of your every step…deed…. along this journey.  Remember… that you carry your family, as we carry you, in all that you do…all that you become….all that you allow to become absorbed into your character….  Sometimes, in life, pride stands in our way of great things….pride has its place…find it early… Often, the impact others benefit from us is more important than our personal gain…. Always use words like “ma’am”, “sir”, “thank you.”  Make it a rule to be the one to open doors whenever there is an opportunity, regardless of the gender, the place, the weather.  Most people never figure this out, but becoming a man is hard work, but seldom the result of being a hard man.  Kindness and gentleness are fundamental building blocks of building character.  Your reputation will carry far if it’s a good one… your character will be the stuff folks talk about well into your adult life… Search…never think you know it all….and always strive to learn….listen…. always hear the opinions of others…  Be aware of the needs of those around you, for one day we are all in need of a friend. 

I’m so very…very proud of you.  I love you with all that I am…with all of my heart.

Happy birthday, son.

Pipsissewah….

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , on January 2, 2010 by rodzink

Crunching leaves….frozen beneath creaking, naked hardwood…. I knelt beneath a receding wintry sky… The rifle resting across my lap.. silent…. blended…. a Cooper’s Hawk graced the flats and disappeared in the tangles of leafless branches… a distant Pileated Woodpecker hammered the day’s last stoccato percussion… Silhouttes… shadows…

The whisper of children, crossing the trickling unnamed branch… a steady crescendo of which I shall never grow weary…. wool covered heads and hands… returning from an exploratory jaunt… readied spears…. I heard their voices and sibling laughter… breath from their warm bodies plumed and hovered… as words unwilling to depart hearts of purity… souls warmed by God’s embrace… and carried to this place.  

Pipsissewah… lush, verigated and green… speckled each step on this dormant, silent ground….  Snowflakes..swirling, riding the ubiquitous wake of God’s stroll through the garden… clearing the unnecessary… brushing away…… readied spears…  Baker’s face… slow breathing….sleeping soundly…. The subtle sun rose without glamorous display and arrogance… careful not to steal the splendor of the morning… Warm coffee… Baker, my son…. snowflakes on my window…

Mountain Opry…One Night in August

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , , on August 16, 2008 by rodzink

 

Baker’s Journey: The Decade in Review

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , on July 14, 2008 by rodzink

I am amazed that you’ve grown so much… so fast….. Since you were born, I’ve walked into your room and watched you sleep almost every night…  Tranquil…  innocent…. I’ve sat beside your crib… climbed into your bunk-bed…  sleeping bag….  hammock…  Just to be close to you. 

I remember standing outside the viewing window.  You were premature… beautiful…  In an instant, nurses swept you up and out of sight.  My heart pounded and hurt.  Your little body was fragile and had difficulty. For a week, you remained in NICU… I couldn’t leave you.  That was 10 years ago.

It’s your birthday.  A time of celebration… a time for you to play… a time for me to reflect.  I only wish I could have kept your world safe and protected you from everything…. guarded your heart… covered your ears…  shielded your eyes. 

You have brought me more joy that I could possibly express… a lifetime of happiness…  pride…. I have held your tiny fingers as you attempted to take your first steps.  Ran behind bicycles as you crashed….  awkwardly kicked your legs in the new swing…  sank in the water as I moved my hands from beneath you… stand on a pitcher’s mound and sling the baseball with all your might…..  put your football pads on for the first time… I’ve watched you get up and run back to the huddle…..  struggle to steady your first rifle….  catch your first fish…. paddle the canoe alone…  I’ve held you in the middle of the night when you were afraid….  and you’ve held me…  I’ve watched you jump off boulders into the blue hole while pushing aside personal fears….  struggle to sit still at mass….  I’ve seen you show off in front of girls (thank God!)…. soccer, football, baseball, track….  I saw you receive an award at school for your character…  I’ve heard you pray and swear (didn’t know that, did you?)…  I’ve personally seen your kindness to others… watched you hold open doors for ladies… offer a hand to your sister….  training wheels to mountain bikes….  cribs to tents…  bathtub to Tennessee River…  I’ve read to you… you’ve read to me…  You’ve ridden in my backpack and now carry your own….

I remember the look on your face and the tears that I thought would never stop when we talked about divorce.  I will never… never forget the hug.  I swear that I’ll spend the rest of my days trying to replace the pain you must have felt.  I remember sitting in the park each night that I didn’t have you… waiting to see your bedroom light turn off…  It was only then that I could say “goodnight.”  I remember talking on 2-way radios while you laid in bed.  I’ve seen you try to understand what was going on while I had no answers.. as I didn’t understand.  I’ve listened to questions that I could not answer with words.  I’ve looked into your eyes while you told me, “Mommy says she doesn’t love you anymore.”  I’m certain to have stumbled through conversations….  redirect your attention…  hide out in the gorge….  I’ve watched you overcome…. get back up… return to the huddle… 

Baker, you are the gift I’ve always wanted… I promise.. the trail ahead is one worth hiking, son… for all of us…  I’ve been to the peak… crossed the valleys.. climbed the mountains… Looked into the eyes of a tremendous tomorrow.  We have much to do together.. I love you with all that I am. Happy 10th Birthday.

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.”