Tuesday, February 2, 2010
UNDER THE APPLE TREES
Every once in a while there are those moments you want to pluck back from the deep recesses of your memory because they were so extraordinary. You know the ones. The ones you are supposed to focus on during deep relaxing meditation. Perhaps memories of your child’s first steps, a smile on your baby’s face, the engagement ring being placed on your finger, or perhaps something seemingly less concentrated, like sitting on a porch under a bird egg blue serene sky, listening to differently pitched barks from differently inclined dogs. Dogs occupied with gossiping of things of great substance, under a Colorado morning sky reflecting off of a lake from every imaginable direction.
I had been on book tour in the Denver area and was experiencing a much needed ‘wind down day’ on a Sunday morning. Soothing myself on a new friend’s porch in Arvada, I closed my eyes and heard distant voices and children’s laughter from the far side of the lake, the tranquil, comforting melody of a waterfall, and a blue jay’s exuberance at finding a feeder resplendent with ripe apples and bird seed.
Canadian geese landing on the lake were honking on this nearly perfect day. Yellow aspen leaves quaking in the breeze, every once in a while fell to the ground preparing a blanket for winter. Families with small children walked around the lake as their bikes and dogs scattered the flocks of geese. A cool breeze hung in this suburb of the city where I was born. I felt I was sitting in the middle of a Norman Rockwell painting.
Colorado is a place where I feel right. And I suppose it is where I am supposed to be. The mountains are a blanket to my soul. I let my mind wonder, as I became lost watching walkers with jackets tied around their waists and 1 koi and 3 goldfish named Adam, Hoss, Little Joe and Hop Sing, swimming in the backyard pond, called the “Pond-erosa.” I remembered walking through the mountains and discovering nature’s treasures. I hunger for those moments of refreshment. I occasionally become filled with compassion fatigue and feel that hollow space inside that can only be filled by traipsing through the Colorado wilderness. From long deserted mining towns to ghost towns turned too touristy, I long to breathe in the air, listen to the tremendous explosion of thunder in the mountains, and hike up to a pristine mountain lake to throw a line in the water and never care if a trout takes the bait. I long to return and know what it means to be at one with nature.
I understand mountains and trees and sunsets and the sheltered forests full of minuscule surprises like wildflowers in the spring on the timberline when the snow melts and rushes to the streams. There it is not hostile or territorial. It is peace.
Cool green grass was inviting bare feet to step on it and forever be changed. Moss and creeping thyme growing on red-brown, vermilion and sugar white Colorado river rocks was cool and peaceful. The rocks change color with the sun and the water gliding over them. They transported me to revisit a fair-haired little girl, who spent hours squatting by a creek after picking wild strawberries, gently placing golden leaves on the water, watching and wondering where they might travel, high in the Rocky Mountains of a land she so cherished.
Growing up so full of anticipation, never realizing the twists and turns and pain and joy and sadness that lay ahead on this river of life. Under the apple trees I could almost see the creeping thyme growing in the cracks and crannies of the rocks that had been here for hundreds of years. Under the apple trees.
I wondered why I don’t live here. Why? In this place of great peace and promise, as I watched a golden retriever carrying his leash in his mouth. Home is where your heart is. My heart is in Colorado. My home is somewhere else.
I saw an old couple hands clasped, walking in tandem, left right, left right, left right. A couple on bicycles pulling a covered carriage with an old lame dog in it. A cherished and deeply loved and honored family member still a part of life’s journey. as he enjoyed his walk and wasn’t left behind. I realized as I watched this scenario, that I miss my dogs, but nothing else.
Two squirrels are playing and jumping in the grass on a bed of golden aspen leaves. Pine trees with beautiful branches are awaiting the first snow fall to transform them into Christmas trees.
A little chilled I go back into the house for a cup of steaming hot cup of Earl Grey tea. My friends have a faucet you don’t touch to turn on and a fridge that eagerly waits to see if you want cubes, crushed or no ice at all. I wondered what we do with our extra time.
A conversation with a stranger that tells me to give my compassion fatigue over to God. A lake where three pelicans fly in every spring. My backyard is a 4 lane boulevard with fire trucks and ambulances and screaming, screeching brakes and then the inevitable crash. Why do I live where my soul isn’t? I am looking for an answer, for a sign. I feel closer to my core here – to who I am in my soul. What others might feel is important, I find more and more inconsequential.
Couples who talk only of family matters, their children and grand children or snip and snap at each other constantly grumbling under their breath but couldn’t live without each other. Why do I feel different?
I had met a lovely lady with a big old yellow lab named Dakota at my Boulder, Colorado book signing. She had lost her husband, her two sons and her father all in the same year. She gets it! She’s experienced unbelieveable pain. And from her pain has grown extraordinary and rare compassion and passion.
Now she visits troubled school children with Dakota. She visits hospice patients and family members. It puts the meaning in life. It is how she gets through.
It is how I get through.
"When love is not madness, it is love."
"You like someone when you learn what makes them laugh;
you love someone when you learn what makes them cry."
"You can close your eyes to what you do not want to see,
but you cannot close your heart to what you do not want to feel."
Love's Magic Moments