Sunday, July 31, 2011
Since you’ve been gone, I’ve watched you grow for 7 years now. I didn’t take much notice of you before that. But when Dad took most of your ashes and let the wind drift them around the foot of that little tree. It became you. Now I have some thing to watch grow even though you are not here. I have been searching for you, your spirit, your being, to no avail. It is what brings me to my knees about you being gone. I want to feel something other than this emptiness, this nothingness. So you are the tree, and if I am lucky, I get to see you once a year.
I walked out there today and just sat in front and studied you intently. You are not especially pretty, other than the fact that any living thing has its own beauty. You’ve grown taller in the past 7 years. I don’t think you were 5 feet tall at first glance. Now I’m guessing that you are at least 8 or 9 feet tall. You have a bare side (I know, you’d say “bare-assed”), and you are definitely not symmetrical. Most pine trees have this Christmas tree shape of wide branches at the bottom and gracefully angle to a point at the top. Not you. Oh, there are some wide branches at the bottom, skimming your juniper bed for feet. But, then the branches all but shrink in the middle and then about 3 feet from the top reach out again. There’s this one branch that is pretending to be a contortionist as it tries to twist itself the other way than the way it should be going. You have 2 topknots each about eight inches long, twisting in all sorts of directions. Actually, you Chris, would love it, because it is so unique. Something you always were so proud to claim. As your mother I thought you were just trying to compensate for your shortcomings, but because you were so good at it, and it made people laugh, you just kept it up. More power to you, kiddo.
You have a beautiful view to look at right in front of the cabin. To the gentle right stands a tree-covered craggy hill. It reminds me of a majestic ancient castle because of its rocky top edge of vertical stones. The clearing of chopped down trees could be it moat, and another spine of rocks to the right looks like a road cut through the forest heading up toward the castle. [Spines of rock like a couple of sleeping green giants cuddled together into an unidentifiable single mass cover the surface. A clearing of trees is the only indication that Other Man inhabits this haven.] On the left are contrasting rolling hills with spots of rock, juniper, and sage. Behind them toward the north are other castle hills. You can watch the deer and occasional elk, maybe even a moose wander contently up the slopes. Right now and for the first time in years, these soft hills are covered in a blanket of purple lupine on a green grass carpet. If you look a little lower, you see the community (gaggle) of young aspen, their feathery headdresses teasing the breeze, and their toes touching the small brook. A family of bluebirds come here every year to keep you company. On the far right is a dangerously deep precipice that drops several feet to the creek below. I can pretend that you are the king of this castle and lord of all you see.
This probably isn’t where you wanted to be. You had only come here a handful of times and the only entry in the log is a drawing of you and your dad fishing when you were seven. But your dad definitely takes comfort that “you are here” (Remember, I can’t find you) And other people have expressed that we did a wonderful thing to have your ashes spread here. I just wanted you to be free and touch the water, earth and sky.
The more I come here though, I try to imagine that you don’t mind it here. You love contradicting things and the land does have contrasting values. You were always on the edge of danger, and here you still have that. So, Chris, here you are…for us. Steph and Sam don’t feel it here…yet, and I try. But it is the one place I know your dad is at peace and can let go (for at least a little while) the anger of losing you.