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To What Remains

I got to the peak, a place I had never been, stood for a moment, and looked around.  I realized I was all alone.  I stepped down, took in the moment, gave it one last glance, and moved on. 

I stood on the edge of the lake and threw it with everything I had into the cool water.  It entered without a splash or sound.  I tied it on the wings of a dove and watched as it flew away into the sky.  I set it next to the willow tree whose branches gently touch the water, and tossed it into the raging wind and watched it drift away, further and further from my grasp. 

It’s next to a stump in the back forty of rugged forest deep in uncharted woods, and was dropped at the end of the dock on a warm summer evening. I placed it on a dirt road I used to roam some time ago, and positioned it on the wooden swing I used to pass the night with.  I situated it on the window sill where stars, spread out across the darkened backdrop, wink.  I left it in the hammock that didn’t disturb my rest, and propped it against the old tree that held my back.  I put it in the meadow, where one of the greatest conversations was had, but not a word was spoken.  I set it next to the pencil that holds my pulse, and the paper where they were kept.  I put it next to the pen so it could never be erased, and saved it in a hidden file.  I hear it in the lyrics of Trevor Hall,

Spark a match and watch the candle burn. The wick runs out and love takes its turn.   On fallen angels and broken sounds.   We will last past the final round…,”

and in the lines of Robert Frost,

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both, And be one traveler, long I stood, And looked down one as far as I could…,”

 and the words of Norman Maclean,

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by waters.”

 It sits against the old shack I used to write by.  I put it on the nightlight that helped me see the words.  I placed it next to the rock on which I sit to collect thoughts.  I threw it in the fire and watched it rise up, specs of light chasing each other amongst the night’s sky.  I nudged it into the muddy pool and watched it disappear.  I slid it under an old wooden park bench, and rolled it next to the log that saw the first glimpse of the sunrise, and the last glimpse of that sunset.

It finds its place in far off lands, in the jungle alongside a great man in Costa Rica, on village beaches on the Pacific, and in a bowl of rice for a hungered man on an island in the Caribbean.  It thrives in madness, in visions and thoughts, in early morning hours, in whiskey and the likes.

It’s planted in the foothills of the mighty Rockies, next to the railroad tracks, with guidance from an immortal soul.  It could not be in better hands.     

It ultimately rests in eyes, and that place that holds the beat, for they hold it all.  It waits at the bend of the river in the valley, at the corner of the trail near the waterfall, and at the peak.  It is not convenient, easy, or safe, for it rages, is intense, stubborn, and fierce. It started by a spark, and became a slow, blue flame.  It can’t be seen, or heard, or touched, or held, or bought, or sold or even bartered.  It’s better that way.

It’s in the fingers that put these words on the page, and State Radio puts these words in my ears,

 “And I'll stand on your shoulders, To watch us grow older, I can see us far along the road, As the trail grows deeper, You’re my giver, my keeper, Laughter for years untold

 'Cause I can stand to stay right where I am, Let the water fill this hand, Bring it to your mouth, And let pass beyond your lips, No gale can down this ship 

And wherever you go there you are, And if I go I won't go far, Wherever you go, There you are, And if I go I won't go far…”

It is somewhere, not here, but hidden, and not found, and that may be how it’s supposed to be, but one will see.  The sun will rise in the East, and set in the West.  The wind will rage and the river will flow.

Rage and flow to somewhere, as it always does, washing away what it must, but I’ll look to what remains.