Life Topics

A Walk in the Woods

The once buried autumn leaves were scattered throughout the trail, dried out from the last snow fall.
Scattered winter branches and twigs littered the path.  Tree roots peeked through the leaves which could cause an ankle injury if you weren’t paying attention.  Picking up your feet was required to continue.  Downhill was tricky as my boots would slip on the leaves, narrowly missing roots.  Today was a gift of early spring, calling us to the trail for a mid-afternoon walk with McDermott our dog.

The creaking whine of large tree branches high above would remind you of a squealing animal when the wind moves through the woods.  We hardly noticed it as we “talked treason”, as the Irish say.  Quiet seclusion is the perfect place for conversation.  Walking side by side keeping an eye out for the dog, our legs and breathing in sync, connecting with each other beyond routine.  Nature wipes out a revving mind, a worried mind and focuses on basic steps and the simple beauty of the empty wood.

A mile and a half into the walk, we rounded a corner approaching my favorite knoll of pine trees.   This is the place where the air drapes over me in calm.  I walk below the pines and hope he feels the same way.  This location approaches the last bridge before we complete the circle, so it’s my last exhale before we go back to our life.  Looking forward as the path winds to the bridge makes me happy and sad at the same time.  The parking lot is not far.  I don’t want to go home yet.

McD takes this last opportunity to leap over some downed trees off the path and run into the water to muddy his paws.  I don’t care if my car gets filthy.  He circles around and repeats his joy, running ahead of us.  McDermott’s freedom of movement brings me to a place of total comfort.  Animals are meant to run free without consequence.  They show you how much they enjoy the occasional untethering, and I’m excited for him.

Ask me what my favorite thing to do is?  A long walk in the woods with my sweet dog and my committed partner.  We solve problems, cherish memories, and have some laughs.  We lovingly reconnect in a way that you can’t plan or even expect.  The change of scenery reaches into a place we don’t often go.  It can be all encompassing allowing us to have the simplest of thoughts reflected in our basic wooded surroundings.  It is magical.

Life Topics

A Mother’s Trail

A Mother’s Trail

I’ll probably never have girls,
only you have that treat,
To listen to my whining
with patent on my feet.

Bruised knees, temporary curls,
Pantsuits for generations to last.
Hand-me-down memories play over, and I grasp.
Who was this blonde little jewel?
She’s still there, but now box color is a tool.

New clothes sewn with love,
worms enjoyed straight from the can.
The boys cast first, I was once last in the clan.
With baby teeth and warm exposed chest,
those worms were delicious.
Fishing was the best.

Dress up on Essex included gown and fan,
and into the carriage went toy cars and vans.
Pushing my possessions and caring for steel,
I wanted it all and pushed endlessly genderless zeal.

I grew as expected, and tried to stay in line,

Realizing that nothing is perfect – only the
slow, gentle healing of time.

So easy life seems at the start.

Then on my own, and slowly I felt things came apart.

A bad marriage, a struggle, an end.
You supported me almost like a friend.

Only not too close, you are the Mom
and sympathy and emotion is not an Irish charm.
Get through it, and be who you are…
have the confidence to carry yourself far.

You’ve guided and walked my trail with me,
holding your breath silently,
as I’ve veered off without careful thought,
to things you’ve seen – knowing I’d get caught.

I wish you ran after me, or guided me more,
but watching me go, you shared a strong core
that a mother must have to see a child stray…
hoping I would remember my mistakes some day.

Instead, keeping me in sight,
you’ve kept my trail worn, defined and true.
As I fall in the distance,
I lay there just waiting for you.

I can see where you are, and I’m desperate to get back,
this ground is so dark, and so wet and so black.

This offshoot seemed so right at one time.

I’m pleading, please, rescue me, hold me
the way you once did, when I was sick or scared.
But you look, and gesture and slow for me now,
I have to understand a direction, somehow.
I’m too heavy to carry, and you don’t want to break stride.
I must learn to travel with dignity and pride.

When I finally reach you, not a word is exchanged.
I’m muddy and tired and feel so ashamed.
Soon or steps move together, determined yet strange.

We’re not alone on our hike.  Turn and look back.

My own children are coming, they’re now in sight.
I must clear a trail for us that is safe and right.

Mom, let me run back and carry them some of the way.

I want to love and protect them more than any words can say.

You shoot me a glance that is both loving and strict.
I know what you mean, but my heart feels sick.
I’m strong now, I can carry them as long as the day.

Instead, keeping them in sight, I turn and gesture
and slow for them now.

They must understand a new direction, somehow.

You take the trail up the hill to the left,
and I will go right.

My blonde little jewels still keeping me in sight.