Saturday, August 18, 2012

-Ray of Light Through Worn Wood - continued

One day, I had a chance to connect with a part of me that I had not seen in a while.  My younger sister, the only relative who lived in the same state as myself, offered to watch the kids over the weekend.  I jumped at the chance.  Soon it would be time to drop the children off at her apartment in the Avenue's, a historical and lovely area located in downtown, Salt Lake City.  I was still packing for my little jaunt into the mountains.  The 1987 Bronco, had the back seats pulled down to accommodate for everything I would need.  Which wasn't much, I was a light packer when it came to camping.  Also, I needed to save room for my fly-rod, float-tube, and waders.  So, besides a sleeping bag, I mentally went down my checklist. 

It was only an overnight trip, so I decided to bring a pair of black sweats to go beneath my waders, in addition to what I was currently wearing.  Faded blue-jeans, black socks with white tennies, black tank beneath a white T-shirt and a grey sweater tied around my waist.  My auburn hair, in a pony tail and tucked into a black baseball hat, and not a stitch of make-up on my face, was fine for me.  I'm not going to a fashion show.  If I were lucky enough, I wouldn't see another soul the whole time. 

I packed my cooler with a few simple items.  A gallon of frozen milk.  I always used this technique to help keep other items in the cooler cold.  In the morning, I could always drink the part that thawed, eaten with a package of Hostess powdered sugar donuts.  I threw in a couple limes.  They were going to be perfect to squeeze on the Rainbow Trout I was going to catch for dinner tonight.  Sweet Corn in their husk.  Tonight, I will throw them on the fire coals for dinner as well.  That reminded me.  A Duraflame log.  I consider this a luxury.  I would gather wood and make a pyramid of it in my fire pit, all on top of a chipped piece of Duraflame for easy starting.  Back in the day, when I used to camp a lot, the whole log of Duraflame would last me nearly two seasons as a fire starter.  Oh, and of course, a gallon of drinking water. 

I then, threw a red frisbee in the back of the old Bronco for my dog, Jade.  She will use this as her dog dish and share all of my food and water.  At the time, I had read that if you feed your dog from a frisbee it teaches them easier to catch the frizbee in play.  My dog, Jade, a Black-Lab and Blue-Healer mix, never did catch on to the frizbee game, so I'm not sure how well that technique actually works.  But, she was a hell of a companion, up there in the mountains.  I thought this as she stood there, big grin on her face and tail wagging....


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chapter One -Ray of Light Through Worn Wood -

**** The passing of my husband due to Pulmonary Fibrosis has left me walking around this Earth with what feels like a heavy weight, to the very core of my being.  Since he has been gone, I still smile, I still dream, I still appreciate the small wonders that unfold within each day, but all while always aware of the weight in the center of my chest.  It is hard to describe, even for myself.  After much thought, I believe it consists of many memories of 'us' that pile on top of one another like a heavy quilt, rich in colors and fabric.  The quilt is so heavy because I carry it alone and I am not used to this, as this beautiful quilt of memories was something that he and I carried together.  ****

-Ray of Light Through Worn Wood-

From the day I handed Rick a slice of cake at my neighbor's birthday party, I hadn't thought about him at all.  I never correlated that this person would be someone who impacted my life.  I had plenty to worry about on my own.  Two small children, 7 and nearly 2, that I loved dearly.  The children's father and I split, over a year ago.  The statistics on marriages that survive a child born with a serious illness are never very good, and ours ended in divorce.  My youngest child was born with a heart problem that was serious enough that I was given the option to terminate the pregnancy when it was discovered by medical professionals.  But, I couldn't do it.  So, two open heart surgeries later, here we all were, the children and I. 

I lived in a house that looked similar to all the other houses on my street.   I picked this house, not for the house itself, but for the grand, mature trees that lined our street.  I loved driving up that street and feeling as though I was under a canopy.  My ex felt as though he needed to find himself and lived in a modern apartment across town.  At the time, he was just trying to save himself from whatever weighed down his spirit and as a result not much thought had gone into what type of support would be given to the children or myself.  I was struggling to get by.  None of the day cares would take my youngest, who at the time was on oxygen to help open his pulmonary arteries.  The children's prior Christmas, consisted of used books and stuffed animals from the local thrift store and of course an orange.  Strangely, they remember that Christmas to this day. 

Time had passed and every day a new problem arose with the house.  My neighbor used to make fun of me for hammering in wayward nails with a rock that I found in the garden.  What was I supposed to do?  The children's father never had a tool box and now it was up to me to get this nail into the wood.  Every night, I cooked the most amazing meals, things I remember my grandmother cooking when I was a child.  Of basics that could be found in even the most sparse cupboards.  I also planted my first garden.  I had always wanted one and thought that I needed help to do it.  But, I found that it was something I could do on my own.  We always had plenty of carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, and mint.  In the evenings, I sat on my porch, which stared into another neighbors back yard- divided by a chain link fence.  I sipped mint tea and gazed at the sunset with the sound of my, and the neighborhood children, playing in the yard and thought, this was about as perfect as life could get...