It is Monday Evening.
The sky is orange just west and north of New York City and I am outbound on a bus, sitting in the usual window seat as I head home with a world of too much thought, and a heart with too many emotions. It won’t be long now. Soon enough, the leaves will change color and the autumn months will take the stage. I swear there are no sunsets like autumn sunsets. Tonight was only a preview of what’s to come
I am fortunate now to live mountainside with a perfect view of all this. I have yet to see the autumn by me. I’ve only seen three out of the four Seasons in my new home. I was here when the leaves had already fallen. I was here to see the spring return and watch the summer warm the streams the feed the nearby ponds. Soon enough, I will be here to see the green switch to color. The tree covered mountains will change in shades and for a brief window of time; the leaves will vary in colors from red to orange and orange to yellow and brown. The winds have already begun to cool a little. I can feel it. I can feel the change coming, and believe me, the change is welcomed.
My road is a quiet one. My home is framed like a ski chalet with an angular roof so the snow will not threaten its strength or integrity. I have dark wooded siding. My property slopes downward towards the back so that the rear of my home is much higher than the ground. I have a patio that wraps around part of my home with seats and benches to sit on. Facing away from my, I can see the Harriman Mountains just beyond the road behind my backyard. I have not hiked all the trails in these mountains. At least, not yet. Then again, I am still very new here and I still have so much to see. So far, I have seen cliffs and clearings. I have stood at the overlooks and at scenic places where golden eagles sore high in the air without even moving their wings.
The deer have been coming around more often. I see them in the wooded section of my property. They often bed down in the piles of leaves near one of the old stumps. There is a small treehouse there, which was built by the previous owner. Beneath it, there is a small cart, which if I choose, I can tow behind my little gray tractor.
My plot of land is humble. It is private and quiet. I have worked decades to get where I am. Sometimes, I wonder if this is all true. I often feel a sense of fear, as if someone will come along and take all this away from me.Maybe this is because I finally feel as if I have something of value and to be honest, I am petrified of losing it.
I have not seen any bears as of yet. I know they are here though. They leave proof sometimes. I have seen a few foxes. At night, I hear the coyotes crying out to each other. I am not afraid of the wildlife here. After all, it is me who lives in their domain. It’s not the other way around. Safe to assume that so long as I am careful, we can coexist with the animals. I just have to be smart. for example, after building a small shed for the garbage cans, the local raccoons decided to find another home with easy to open trash cans.
In all my years, I have never seen any place like this.
I was born on September 20, in the year 1972. This means as of tomorrow, I will have sustained, endured, lived, and survived this world for 44 years. This means I have 44 years of life’s experience. I cannot say that I remember too many of my birthdays. I can’t say I remember any of the gifts I received—least of all, the toys we get as kids or the clothes we get throughout the years. I’m not sure where I had my very first birthday party or if I ever had one after I turned 13.
I suppose once we pass a certain age, birthdays are less spectacular. Maybe we forget to celebrate them, or maybe we forget why we celebrate birthdays to begin with. Same as we acknowledge an anniversary, we acknowledge a birthday. Somehow, and perhaps in spite of myself and regardless to a few of the popular predictions; I have managed to reach 44 anniversaries. It took me 44 years to get where I am now. I am not where I want to be yet. I still have more goals to reach and more things I need to accomplish.
However, I can promise you this; I’m still dreaming. More importantly, I’m still working on my trick and one day, I will perfect it. I guarantee it.
I wish you were here to see this place, Mom. I wish I could take you for a walk near the pond or show you the mountains. I wish you could come in the winter to see the way snow lingers on the branches and the mountains appear frosted like a winter wonderland. I wish you were here to smell the fireplaces at night and sit on the deck with us.
You always ask me what I want for my birthday. Since this is my first birthday in the new house, and the second one since you passed, I guess what I want most is a visit from you. I’d like the phone calls I used to get from you as soon the morning came. I would answer, “Hello,” and then you would burst out and sing Happy Birthday.
Tomorrow marks my 44th year. All I want is a sign Mom.
Any sign will do.
Love always, your son