Falling Away

For years he walked against the wind, struggled against life’s gales, fighting for each step. He would turn his head from side to side straining to draw breath at times as he shielded his face from the stinging reach of his mistakes, and when the wind turned to a lesser breeze he’d look skyward for a light to show him the way, but all he found was reflections of shame.

He would sit down then, hunker in and wait for the storm to pass. Then when it did and he could stand and see around him all he saw was nothing, he couldn’t see into the future and he couldn’t see into his past, all there was, was nothing. He failed, failed to progress, failed to attain, he failed to be anything but present.

Like so many the present is unaccounted for, they wander between what came before and what happens next. Never knowing their fate, always looking for the solid, steady ground below their feet, which always seems to be there…until it isn’t.

When that moment comes and it always does, you have choices to make; you can surrender and fall away or reach out desperately and grab hold of the very edge and hang on. Then you fight, you fight with everything that’s left, you fight and claw and battle against gravity. You pull and struggle, and you as your fingers bleed and become cold and frozen and the feeling in your legs dissipates quickly you get angry and you spit as you cry out for a chance, just a little opportunity to show you have something left to give.

When you dig deep enough and you find that small flame buried somewhere in your soul you suck it in, and use it and crawl from that hole and roll over onto your back, exhausted, and weep. For you just learned that there is fight in you yet, that there is something worth saving and you love it and caress it and as you lay there contemplating the present, you realize that the clouds that kept your world dark and empty have begun to thin. You see blue sky and know there is something in your future if only you strive to put it there, there is something and you will find it.

an ‘Ol Shabby Rockin’ Chair

On a particularly warm summer afternoon the old man, rocking in an ‘ol rickety, shabby chair looked down at his once strong and agile, but now aged wrist, where he once wore his favorite silver watch and said, in a tender, shaken ton, “where did the time go?”

Where is the mercy when we wake up one Sunday and realize that the days before us are less than those behind? When it suddenly feels as though we are out of time to see all of our dreams to fruition?

Where is the justice in knowing that the garden we tend, will continue to fruit long after we have gone?

As he sees his children grow up seemingly so fast, he quietly begs for more time, he promises to give back all those sunsets and days wandering along the river just to sit here in his chair and watch his children smile a little while longer.

These days the sun rises and sets so fast that he often feels as though he’s slept through the summer, How he misses running through the sprinkler, crawling along the muddy river catching frogs, laughing at the incidental innocence of his children at play, in sock feet and leaping to catch candy from the raspberry queen as she passes on her blossom laden float.

He’s afraid the path before him is winding down and he’s getting tired. The light changes into dusty amber as the sun descends behind the trees. The forest before him grows thick and dark.

His children gather around him now and smile with pained faces, his grandchildren puzzled. His younger lover holds his hand and whispers how she loves him, but he can barely feel her soft touch any longer. And her voice begins to float away like an echo.

Somewhere far off in the distance he hears subtle voices, the warmth leaves his body now but he is not cold, and his mind slips away to another time and another place. And in his ear, he hears faintly, his favorite watch as it slows to a stop.

On a particularly warm, summer afternoon, an old woman rocks in an ‘ol shabby chair, caresses the worn down wooden arms and smiles to herself and says in a tired, shallow voice, “it won’t be long now darling”.

 

No Place for Regret

I have seen the dark things that wait in the shadows of the alleys we fear to go into.

I have held in my hand the most delicate of innocence.

I have spent too much time wandering in places where light cannot reach, the empty, frightful places.

And I have breathed in deeply the thinly veiled air of success.

When it is my day to step beyond the horizon, I will look forward to it; I will run to it,

I will not fear that place for it is my destiny, but I will not go with thoughts of regret.

I have lived my life; I have peered at an antediluvian sunrise with its intense, rich colors.

I have stood naked in the rain letting it wash over my body and cleanse my soul.

And I have touched love; I have let it pour through my fingers in abundance, raised it to my face and bathed in it.

I will not go from this world into the next without knowing what it felt like to hurt, to feel hunger, to experience strife and conflict of my very being, to smell the rot of guilt and then be raised by of prideful humbleness of integrity.

I will celebrate all that I am and have been, for had it not happened the way it all did, I would not be me.

I do not desire a statue or a monument, I do not require a plaque to feel accomplished, I yearn only to remain in the hearts of all those I have loved and who’ve loved me. To be shared through an embrace, a cherished hug between friends, a kiss between lovers and in the kind grip of interlaced fingers and the warmth of two hands.

Look at your brothers and sisters, your friends, your parents and your lovers, your grandparents and your neighbors, stare into their eyes and know that love is there, even if they don’t, it is always there. Rejoice in that, accept it, treasure it and value it over all else.

As the Leaves Flutter By

We sat in the wind and watched the leaves flutter by

We spoke of the past, of dreams and loves lost.

Its quiet sitting there in the sun, she in her wheel chair,

me sitting beside her holding her hand.

She told me it wouldn’t be long, that she’d punched her ticket.

She said she wasn’t afraid, she said she had two husbands and a boyfriend she’d buried

waiting for her at the gates.

I told her I loved her and would miss her as I brushed the hair away from her quizzical eyes.

She told me not to fuss and that the next time I come not to bring her Key Lime Pie.

It’s been a year since my grandmother has passed, and on that next visit, that last day, I found myself

brushing aside her hair again.

She never made excuses; she never lied and never looked more beautiful, at peace, at rest.

I miss her today, and when I stand in the fall wind and close my eyes I can feel her all around me, she

will always be there, her voice carried in the breeze, her smile in rays of the sun.

Her love remains, as does mine.