January 1, 2017 New Year’s Day
We are hours after the sunrise. I was up before this (of course) and waited to see the first light move from the east and raise above the empty tree branches that stand above Old Wesley Chapel and its tiny cemetery. The winter blue sky is clear with sporadic patches of soft white clouds that move overhead in groups of pillowy cotton. The January sun isn’t bright this morning but it shines without any kind of warmth and leaves shadows on the mountains behind my home.
My home stands at the top of a hill. The hill slopes downwards behind my house and my property reaches down to Haverstraw Road. Beyond Haverstraw and passed the homes is wooded land on the risen mountains.
God, I wish you were here to see this . . .
I took a walk up the road to see the frozen pond. There is still snow covering the ice where a series of footprints left behind by one of the deer tracked a line and drew a circle to show where the little fawn entered and where she decided to make her exit. I like this place. The pond, I mean. This is somewhere I pass on my long morning walks during the warmer months. Today is not warm; however, I wanted to walk and feel the cold winds fill my lungs.
I wanted to feel the chill on my face, inhale deeply, and then say to myself, “Ahh,” before I exhale. Everything is so clean here. There is room to walk freely and see things like the golden eagles that turn through the sky and hover above the grounds between the Catamount and Panther mountains.
There is something so plain and so beautiful about this place. I swear you would love it here. It’s the kind of place that deceives the cold heart and tricks it into feeling something warm and inviting. I have never been anywhere like here. But this is mine. This place or this corner of the world — this here is mine. Perhaps this is why I feel so strongly about my surroundings.
I took a walk this morning to keep a tradition alive. I looked upwards at the sky and felt the wind on my face. I watched the tiny windmill in my driveway spin and change direction. I could smell the aroma of a nearby fireplace.
God, I wish you were here.
I am not sure where you are now or what you can see. I have always said that the eyes in heaven never blink — not even once. I believe the eyes of heaven never blink because blinking is an earthly thing and since that which is of flesh is flesh; that which is of spirit is spirit. And you are of spirit.
I know why I blink. I blink because my eyes need moisture. I close my eyes to rest. If I need to imagine something or gain a picture in my head, I shut my eyes so that I can see this picture more clearly. The eyes in heaven would never do something like this. They wouldn’t need to. I’d like to believe that you see us in ways that I could not comprehend. Since I am still of body, I cannot understand what it is like to see through the eyes of the spirit. Since I am of flesh, I cannot understand what it is like to be in the presence of you, as you are now, in the form of the spirit. Because I am earthly, and because I am still of the flesh, I am simple and only wish there was a way to hear from you.
I have this dream sometimes of you and me, moving through the rolling waves across the top of the sea. You are wearing a captain’s hat, a white sweater rolled up high as a turtleneck upon your throat as you stand at the wheel of your ship in the wheelhouse, moving outward and onward to ports I’ve only dreamed about.
You are there somewhere. I imagine you this way. You are far out beyond the lobster pots, passed the scallop grounds where boats drag the bottoms and passed the long-liner fishing boats. I imagine you this way. You are somewhere beyond where the cross-Atlantic barges move cargo from foreign ports to ours. You are in the endless ocean — so vast and beautiful. I dream of you like this.
Currently, the offshore weather reports a gale warning. There is a small craft advisory and conditions between the Hudson and Baltimore Canyon are as follows: There is a cold front, west winds moving between 25 to 35 knots, diminishing to 15 to 25 knots early then becoming northwest 10 to 20 knots. As of now, the seas are anywhere between 7 to 12ft which will eventually subside into seas of 5 to 8ft in wave height.
Pop, wherever you are now, I imagine you standing at the wheel in your wheelhouse, wooden pegs to the wheel held in your hand as the bow your ship raises and falls; throttles forward to keep you moving through calm seas. And somewhere, sitting comfortably with a smile, perhaps doing needlepoint in a comfortable chair next to a soft white lamp, Mom is there and waits for your return to port. I envision her smiling because at last, she is home, and at last she is with you, painless and free.
There is a feeling I suppose that comes when love is so deeply rooted that wherever we are — we still feel the company of our loved ones; in which case, we are never alone. I lose sight of this sometimes. I forget there is nothing so strong as a Mother’s love. I forget that you being who you are — your strength could never be diminished nor could your love ever become short of reach.
Today is the first day of the New Year. I took my walk. I took my deep breath and had the chance to say, “Ahh.”
God, I wish you were here to see this . . .
I wish you both could visit. I wish I could see the expression on your faces when you walked through the front door of our home. I could show you my tool bench downstairs and the refinishing projects I’ve started. Claire and Mom would make dinner. You and I could sit on the back porch, look at the mountains, and do nothing else but enjoy our time together.
All my love,