Archive for Rod Zink

Stockings…

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on December 6, 2015 by rodzink

fireplace

The tree.. the lights….the decorations…perfectly placed from front porch to dining room… each item moved…adjusted…. repositioned… strategically angled… under careful management.  Even then, no placement is final… Wise Men have their superior…Santa is not the only one making lists…checking it twice… And Risvy, our faithful…mischievous…daring Elf… his shenanigans are subject to stringent protocol before lights out..

The Stockings… the stockings are unpacked…one at a time… embroidery perfectly stitched in the trim. … Mom…Dad…

Baker…Annabelle…Aaiden Grei… Aashir Rais…

I do it every season…feel each name…… each memory…  a beautiful story… Our Christmas story…a story that cannot be put into words…. but this family knows the chapters…the theme….can turn immediately to dog-eared pages…. epilogue…acknowledgements…

To borrow some words from Seuss:

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

On Christmas morning…when stockings are emptied.. and I listen to the voices…the beautiful voices of this household… I can be found… in a comfortable chair…coffee in hand…. collecting memories…gathering moments… and stuffing them back into these stockings.  There is a Christmas morning somewhere in my future…when I’ll wake with Faranah… and there will no longer be children in the house…. but those stockings…. will be full…perfectly placed…and hanging from our mantle.

fireside…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags on January 8, 2013 by rodzink

I’ve watched sunsets…. many sunsets…. watched her dip into the ocean….behind the Rockies…over the Appalachians…. I’ve seen it disappear into places unknown….. reassured that I could turn my camp chair 180 degrees….only to watch her reappear….

Regardless… this old world just keeps spinning… she waits for no one.  It seems with each sunset…sunrise…. my kids grow inches… change features… and I’m just trying to hang on….feet whirling behind me like a frail kid on a  merry-g0-round out of control….

IMG-20120517-00274DSCN0745DSCN0734DSCN0770But isn’t this the design… they grow…and grow….and grow…. It’s only the close of each day when we recognize that the moments are slipping irretrievably through our hands… gulping water from a shallow creek…loosely clasped fingers…feeling the cool of the water, but unable to hold onto it.

So I turn my camp chair…back to the small fire…. waiting… watching…listening… for that first glimpse of tomorrow… to be the one that sees them open their eyes on a new morning…to dream their dreams…

 

Ornaments…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on December 22, 2012 by rodzink

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Aashir Rais…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on April 22, 2012 by rodzink

 

Words…. would simply be an obstacle here…. I can’t express how much I love this little boy….

 

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Silence….

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on January 31, 2012 by rodzink

The days have come….nights have passed… I’ve watched a relentless sun rise and fall… chasing an elusive and tireless moon… And I fight to ensure that my days are different… meaningful…. purposeful…. and much more than a tiresome…. senseless… survival of itself…

..and here am I, oh God…. where you’ve planted my feet… within a whisper of the voice that I’ve always known… an understanding of which I’ve waited…

….finding  that my life’s purpose is not mine…not to serve myself… discovering my heart is within another heart…. and satisfied that my place is lowly…I want nothing… as I have….everything….

Silently… celebrating today…. for all I have…. for where I am…. for the day… for the night…. for the chasing of the sun….and the  fading of the moon…. for tomorrow..

HBL…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on January 26, 2012 by rodzink

It’s so amazing how busy… how packed.. the days have become… a new little life in our home… brings so very much…

 

Aashir is growing…smiling…laughing….crying….playing… Sometimes, just watching him light up when someone walks into the room…or when he hears his Mommy’s voice… makes me want to sit back and look at him…. and realize he’s the beginning of a new volume…filled with surprises of him becoming his own…  I can’t wait to see his personality develop…hear his voice when he begins to talk…. watch his technique as he launches into a toddler tantrum…. see what his favorite Disney show will be…..

…..but then…. there’s  his Mommy…  simply being his Mommy…. watching all those instincts kick in…. realizing the complete devotion she has for him… knowing that she would sacrifice all for this little boy…. 

 

I find myself watching the clock all day… as busy as I am…. for as much as we all have on our plates….  I begin missing them all….the very second… I close the door behind… the instant I drive away from the school… and my goal for the day…. after the work…the meetings….the running errands…. is no more than to get back home… near them….

I can ask for nothing…for I have been given everything….

Eleven Octobers…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , on November 6, 2011 by rodzink

7 weeks…..

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on October 25, 2011 by rodzink

7 weeks have come… but they aren’t gone… Who could have ever dreamed of such a beautiful thing…

Aashir, you’re already 7 weeks old… I’m so looking forward to you sleeping through the night…. playing soccer… backpacking…. my sweet little boy….

4 am……

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on October 18, 2011 by rodzink

Aashir Rais… It’s still sort of…surreal…  I can’t believe he’s here…  Holding him is like realizing the precious value of each second…. the tough seconds… the amazing…. the moments when we realize the “yesterday” were but avenues to today…

….and I suddenly cannot imagine a day without him…

Autumn…

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on September 14, 2011 by rodzink

I can almost hear the crunching of drying leaves as they fall… the sweet smell of sassafras… hickory… The yellow jackets, swarming their shallow nests in preparation… green and bitter persimmons budding… A retreating sunset… and an encroaching Orion… I can close my eyes and feel the warmth of a small fire and childrens’ laughter…. huddled together…surrounded by darkness and the whisper of wind… But today, I’ve simply found myself with sleeping child… and sweet dreams…But this day is coming…soon….
Baker…. Belle…. Aashir….. I can’t wait…

Rain….

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on September 10, 2011 by rodzink

Saturday, the rain came… we’d waited for weeks… the ground had become a powdery mix of dust and sun-baked grass…leaves… The mere thought of a much needed rain… record dry days… record heat…  then, all at once… quenched.. that which we had longed for finally arrived… falling hard…. in unexpected doses… Rain fell…

Blessings are like this…. we wait… attempt to visualize the outcome… the path.. We take a stab at dreaming of it… the “when” and “where” and “how” all become a mystery.  Then, on an unexpected September morning… the heavens open… and the blessings fall like rain…. in unexpected volumes… with an abundance that we hadn’t dreamed… putting us on a path we hadn’t noticed… dry ground above a rising creek… a glimpse of the sun over the eastern horizon. 

Mysteriously, we can never see it coming…  we stand, waiting… dumbfounded when the blessing, beyond our comprehension, falls upon us…. heaping fullness….. 

I’ve been waiting….so long…  I’ve come to realize that voice whispering in my ear… the one I’ve always heard… the tugging conscience and gripped hand on my very soul… had a plan… a path… a string of blessings….good things… great things… His ear always attentive… waiting for my request… to open the gate on another blessing….  Baker…. Annabelle….. Faranah….my dil…my duniya… and now…. Aashir Rais…

And this September morning…. the rain began to fall… gently at first… the feel of it on my face as I stood outside… cool… I’ve waited…

Brothers……

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on August 14, 2011 by rodzink

It was bitter cold..the kind of cold that hurts like the sting of a sunburn… the kind of cold that clears the sky.. causes the very stars to flinch, instead of sparkle in the pre-dawn December morning.  We seldom carried flashlights as we’d spent so much time roaming that mountainside, I swear, we could walk it’s length in utter darkness. From the parked Landcruiser, we separated.  My brother, Tim, disappeared into the hardwood with Remington .30-06 over his shoulder.  My tradition was to sit and watch him become part of the darkness…wait until I could no longer hear his footsteps.. He was a ghost in the woods… quiet… patient… Only then, I’d shoulder my Winchester .300 mag… and set out towards my tree stand.  I checked the wind direction… a struggle to keep it in my face…and not my back.  A step…maybe two… stop…move on…The solitude of it all was nothing less than…spiritual… and this was where I wanted to be… where something inside of us would sacrifice almost anything to get there.

Sitting silently…motionless…nonexistent and, yet, fully a part of the surroundings… This was routine…. but on this particular day…. I remember the crack of gunfire….three consecutive shots… which gave the whole story… I readied myself and watched the top of the ridge…within seconds… a nice buck cleared the horizon and was running flat out….and I watched….and waited…. Tim rarely missed anything…. The buck slid to the ground where I watched it kick a few last kicks… I watched from a distance… the eyes of that old whitetail.. serene…natural… I waited until his very soul ran wild back into the heart of the mountain…

That morning…. there was something of finality to it all…. The months of combing that mountain..the flats…the ravines…. Camping, sitting by a midnight fire…talking of the coming season… the scrapes…the rubs…the hunt… Laughing… poking fun…. being boys…young men… Lying on the dirt in sleeping bags.. Separated by design from all things of civility except companionship… the hunt..in truth….was secondary….  That mountain had become my church…my synagogue…mosque…. God was either there..or didn’t exist at all… We broke bread, in a sense, by that fire hundreds of times.  I miss those days… only those days… when the leaves began to turn brilliant red…vibrant orange… when the Poplar leaves would yellow… and the persimmons fall… the bark on those cedar saplings were peeled away by territorial, rutting bucks..along the ridge where I studied every tree…..every creek… sitting for hours amongst pipsissewah and moss… I learned to be alone… I accepted the often harsh certainty of weather…rain…cold…wind… human nature…trust… Yes, we had those that would infrequently arrive for the hunt… or to warm themselves after dark in our primitive campsites…. but I could always mentally weed out those that were different.  I’d listen…look into the hearts of our casual visitors…to many, this was a place where they’d come to seek out company… a sort of pub-like establishment… a reason to ride their ATVs…. to us… it was different…. It was simply who we were.. in our veins…. 

I was up early this morning… long before daylight… the gentle nudge that has stirred me for more than 40 years.. it’s who I am… it’s all I can do to just sit on my porch and listen to the birds…. feel the breeze… dream of a distant time… an era that is burned into my skin with the same permanance of an ugly tattoo…forever mine… and mine, alone…  and I think of the boys…. Baker and Aashir… Matthew…..     

There’s a verse….”a friend is someone closer than a brother….”  It’s the words that make me question authenticity…infallibility… Or simply doubt whether I’ve ever had a friend…

Teen….

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , on July 18, 2011 by rodzink

I’ve held water…cupped in my hands… alongside many cool mountain streams… Trying to hold it long enough to drink… to absorb… to quench.  But the water runs more quickly between unsealed fingers and palms than I can partake… So, I simply keep cupping the water….

Baker… 13 years old… I watch him grow… taller… older… and the days slip through my fingers… and I keep reaching down… cupping the moments… all I can get….  Deep down, I realize, that I’ll never quench this thirst… the desire to absorb all that he is… 

Happy 13th Birthday, Baker…. I can’t believe you’re a teenager…. You are such an unbelievable joy…. I’m blessed to have you.

Fathers’ Day 2011….

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on June 21, 2011 by rodzink

Front porch….early this morning… cool breeze…cup of coffee….  Could do no more than simply smile and reflect on this wonderful life… Funny how much changes as we grow… but how constant we are at the core… The things that make us who we are… the stuff that we cherish… at our very souls…   

I’ve heard it… often…. we focus our attention on the things that really make us happy…. the things that make up who we are….  the very faces of these kids…. this perfect companion…. the mere thought of my unborn son… and my heart races…  my thoughts roam… excitement soars… and my gratitude humbles… I’ve stumbled into my place.. following the unknown… watching the unseen…hearing the inaudible… the heart string… the gravity… the pilgrimage…. And there is no doubt… no hesitation…no resistance…..  I am Home….

Choices….

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on June 6, 2011 by rodzink

A misguided step… to slip on the moss at a river crossing…. fighting the current… washing up on solid ground…downstream… on an unknown shore…. 

I’ve discovered that there are no “misguided” steps…  The slippery rock was strategically placed beneath the water’s surface to redirect us…  My grandfather’s return from Japan as a young man and moving his family… my father’s return from Vietnam and following my mom’s family…leaving Miami… …. Faranah’s family moving from Uganda… her taking a job in a city she’d never been….  Any variation from these and a million other decisions… some decisions of people I’ve never known… would have altered where I sit this morning… the very table and coffee cup…. my existence… my happiness… my children…. the child on the way… the pictures we hung on the wall last night….

At my age…. I have much on which to look back… I can see the criss-crossing trails… but no longer the trailhead… I know the paths I’ve walked… some without desirous ambition…. enthusiasm… Then, the stumbling forward and finding that cove… cool creek… beautiful vista… that I’ve passed countless times…  My understanding is the Children of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years… and when they finally stumbled into the Promised Land… they had been no more than a day’s journey from it many, many times…  They were so close…

…. and I’ve been so close….  I’ve never…never…. been so happy… I would have overlooked the opportunity… I wouldn’t have known the possibilities existed….  I had no idea that there was so much more…  couldn’t have dreamed of this… I have truly found the place for which I was sculpted…. this solid ground… my sacred soil….

Choices… like a shadow… trail closely behind even on the brightest days… our constant companion… reminder… mimicking our every step… Yesterday, watching Baker swim… I noticed my shadow… sitting beside me… still… comfortable…. and in peace….