Letters From a Son

Today, Friday November 18, 2016

I step outside my front door. The air is cool and crisp—the clear skies are only moments after Dawn and the sun is coming up, rising above the tips of tall evergreens, which slope upwards on this side of the mountain: a bright yellow glare streams down through the pines and the branches of seasonally empty trees. I am quiet for now and the morning has yet to get underway. I inhale and exhale with the smoke from my breath, lifting, and then disappearing into atmosphere.
For now, the news is no different from yesterday. The powers that be are still arguing about a better leader for our country, trying to decipher who is right and who is wrong; meanwhile, those of us in the working class remain as we are, working through life as it comes and struggling to determine the direction of our day, our life, our society, and waiting to see what happens next.

Standing to admire the silence, nearby, a dog barks. The winding road that passes my houses is still for now. The wind moves in the sound of a gentle hush.

Behind me is the first home I have ever truly owned. Ahead of me is the front of my property with a U-shaped driveway in slight need of attention, but not too deeply in disrepair that I need to be concerned.
Behind me is my home which I also refer to as The Kimmel Ranch—and I say this with pride because I am proud of what I have.
Everything I ever worked for is in this home. Beneath my roof are nearly all the ingredients of my life. I have a few nice things inside—a few shelves. some paintings in frames that hang on the walls. I have pictures that act as a photographic diagram of what it took to come this far, acknowledging where I came from, and gratefully expressing what happened after an evening in New Jersey more than ten years ago, and luckily, never ended.
This coming week marks one full year of my residence here. I am one year away from so many things but I am lifetimes away from who I was in the necessary downfall of a decade before this.

If you had asked me what my life would be like in increments of 5 years and reach back to 10 years, or up to 15, or 20, and even 25 years ago, I am not sure if this is what have seen. I swear, when I look back at who I was, I think about the people I was with; I think about the mistakes I made, and with all my contempt—I clench every muscle, squint my eyes as tightly as possible, and wish with all my heart that I could strangle the me of my past.

I am a series of stories which encapsulate my life in a period of timelines and phases. I am a combination of memory and lessons. I am a series of incidents and accidents, stories and tragedies—left turns and rights, good moves and bad. I am the sum of failures, successes, losses and victories. I am a combination of all these things. And because of these things, I have what I have—and what I have has taught me a few secrets about the meaning of endurance.

There was a time not long ago that I wondered where this path would take me. If you would have asked me in my younger years, I suppose my opinions of success and my definitions of happiness were both considerably different and certainly immature. I was unsure about love and its existence. I was unsure about me and my value. Life seemed less real to me (If that makes sense) and as I grew, life at times became painfully real.

Here I am now. I have gone further than people said I would. This is something I wear proudly. I have done something with myself.
And you know what, Mom?
I’m not done yet.

I think you would be proud of this place. I think you would like the history that surrounds the town I live in. It’s beautiful here. I know I tell you this often, and maybe you have a way to see it all. Maybe I just tell you because I need to tell you and the phone doesn’t ring where you live anymore.

I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last letter. Sometimes, I fall too deeply into my own traps. That’s why I had to stop this morning and look around. I had to see what I have because I tend to forget the obvious.

By the way, I’ve been looking for the birds near Bryant Park. I haven’t seen any in a while. I think the people on 42nd Street must think I’m crazy—me, walking around, looking for baby birds on the city sidewalks. Crazy, right? Maybe it is, but I’d like to believe those little birds I found were a present from you.

Anyway, I have to go now, Mom.

I promise I’ll write to again soon

All my love, your son

Ben

 

 

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