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Archive for October, 2013

Sacred Land

               IMG_1255

            Twenty two years ago
            I first touched this rough
            and dry land : its rocky
            crags leading down to
            the river I came to so love.
            Here at the edge of the Madison
            we first learned how to heal
            from pain so great
            we wanted never
            to speak of it,
            and yet the river
            and these mountains
            taught as slowly
            how to sing
            our pain
            into the night sky.

            Two sons and a mother
            hearts broken
            timidly
            walked the water’s edge
            mesmerized by the swiftness
            and clarity of the river –
            what little we knew
            was that we were
            now just a family
            of three –
            and somehow
            we were brought
            to this river’s edge to heal.
           
            The winds of time
            have shown us
            the slow truth
            of loss:
            that time heals all wounds,
            but not without a price.
            Many a night
            we stared at the stars
            of this endless Montana sky
            and looked for a sign –
            any
            that would help
            us in the dawn’s light.
           
            Three were we
            by the river
            stomping day in and day out –
            singing songs to keep
            bears away
            as we fished
            for savvy trout.
            Hours of trumping
            in heavy waders
            sun dazed
            and laden with the
            unspoken fear
            we would never
            heal from our sudden loss.
           
            Boys need a father,
            and the river was the
            best I could do.
            I watched helpless
            as fish were lost,
            or worst yet
            for many days
            completely elusive
            as flies were changed
            over and over,
            and patience slowly lost.
            But we persisted,
            morning thru night
            backpacks
            water bottles
            lunches
            jackets
            hats –
            lugging gear far and near
            finding the perfect drifts
            and holding spots –
            oh and then
            the joy
            the laughter
            the sharing
            of a fish
            well caught
            and gracefully
            or not
            released…..
            Then the walk back to our
            camp
            were we recouped
            warm by night fire
            telling silly
            stories until sleep
            drove us in
            to the tent – the dog
            at our feet.
            Three bodies
            beating as one
            under the very
            stars we each
            wished upon –
            the same impossible wish,
            but
            life would not turn on itself
            and our lot was written.
           
            Many a time
            I have wished that my boys
            had been instead
            motherless.
            Now over time,
            swear to myself
            over and over –
            you did the best you could.
            But I had help –
            this land and all its
            space –
            its endless breath
            of light
            its wind that clears
            fear
            the river that rushes
            through all our being
            fast and furious
            gifting us with long
            winded fishing stories
            and brought laughter
            into our lives again.
           
            Over years we have
            grown to love this
            harsh land and its
            bitter winds.
            The aspen
            sage
            wildflowers
            red tailed hawk
            coyotes
            elk
            deer
            antelope
            and endless space
            have taught us well.

            Taught us that nothing
            is permanent –
            from summer to summer
            we carried the lessons
            in our hearts
            and slowly healed –
            but each of us
            in the triangle
            broken in some way.
            But than beauty can
            only grow from
            the crags of pain,
            like the Indian paintbrush
            that graces
            the edge of the rock
            grotto where
            we placed the ashes
            those many years ago –
            a mother
            and her two boys.

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Tears on The Gravely Range

IMG_3851           The light that falls past my shadow
            is yours
            cast this dusk
            as I walk these hills
            dense as the darkness
            and tears I carry:
            I thought once I could
            never shed another:
            so many fell for so long,
            I hated myself and all
            the long silences
            I filled with the salt of my heart:
            I wanted to choke
            and put the ceaseless sobbing
            to a violent stop –
            even better cease all together –
            into the dark
            like a faint sound
            that one hears,
            but doesn’t.
            Like the snow that fell
            so feverishly for days
            and then whist fully
            melted in the mountain sun –
            gently wetting the lips
            of the dry grasses:
             whore storm
            turned lamb…

            But they were not enough
            apparently
            for this lifetime –
            I have once again
            been revisited
            by the tawdry
            lady of melancholy:
            a family trait –
            my father claimed.
            Revisited by the wails
            and shaking
            like the frail aspen,
            shedding their leaves
            as winter nears.
            And all the years
            of stillness
            of shedding the self
            and finding that
            sanctuary
            where there is no space
            between those whom
            we love
            and ourselves –
            so no pain can enter
            that ring of fire –
            that holy space,
            came tumbling down….
            In the end we hurt
            those we love the most
            and then some.

            So in this frail light
            of autumn
            in the highest
            peak I can find
            I set free these
            bitter tears
            so they can fly
            over the prairie
            like the swiftest
            red tail hawk
            and know
            that it is human
            to love,
            and more so
            to hurt
            and burn with rage,
            and yet
            I wish I could
            breathe calm and long
            like the firm soil
            beneath my feet –
            so many fools
            has she seen
            thrust beneath her
            who have struggled
            for not –
            their hearts bursting
            with long fought battles
            against their own demons –
            their imagined plots
            and winding dramas:
            wasting precious moments
            in senseless arguments
            and even more senseless
            tears…
            oh, spare me from this
            burden
            from this lineage of hysteria –
            bathe me in the night breeze
            that brings the calming winds
            and quiets the desperate soul…
            Pacha mama:
            mother
            I stand on your frail skin
            and as man continues
            to break your heart,
            I find my tears
            so ridiculous
            that I laugh
            into the wind
            and listen for my echo
            in the clouds that surround
            the mountain –
            but I hear nothing
            and recognize
            the silence
            is my heart
            healing
            so tiny
            and yet so enormous
            I can feel all the galaxies
            swirling
            in me –
            so why
             find meaning
            in the same tired
            stories
            we recount over and over
            in our dreams
            in our days
            in our endless
            ceaseless
            minds –
            I look past the
            ridge
            and there is only
            one truth that matters:
            I Am,
            as imperfect and flawed
            as this body that limits
            me,
            and so
            much as I hate them.
            let this not be
            the last of my tears –
            let them fly free over the
            endless light
            into the river
            of what is done
            and what will come
            I Am
            not one,
            not afraid,
            not limited –
            simply
             am.

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