A Recurring Thought
I have this recurring thought where I want to go to her apartment, pack a bag, get some warm blankets and her dog, and for us to get into my truck and just drive. I would take her west, Wyoming or Montana probably, somewhere where the land is not so full of people and the mountains hold only nature, not resorts.
We would find a cabin with a porch, one where there is a mountain view and large Ponderosa Pine Trees filling our view. We would just sit and stare quietly, sipping coffee, and eventually telling stories. We are both storytellers, so they will flow naturally. She will tell me some of my favorites about her daddy and Uncle Curtis, and I will listen intently and sit proud when she says I am just like them.
In the evenings, we would have a fire and stare at the flames, talking about the life journey she’s been on, the good and bad, and what she would have done with her life if she didn’t meet my dad and have her kids. It is a question I have asked her before because I love hearing her dreams before her life suddenly became set for her from a controlling mother and newly crowned husband. When she talks about this different life, my siblings and I are not a part of it. She suddenly gets a youthful look in her eye, thinking about traveling, painting, writing, and possibly falling in love with a man that cared for her like she should have been cared for. It’s strange but I like hearing about a life where I was not a thought, never born. Then suddenly, her eyes come back to their current self and she tells me about the realities of life and how she did her best to navigate it all, the abuse, the work, and how she loved and lived for her children with all her might. She endured for us. Her resilience and survival was for us.
The Mountain night would turn cool and the stars and moon would show the outline of the peaks. She would ask me to tell stories about when I climbed mountains, the majestic views, and the time when I went searching for the bear that would come to feed and drink from the flowing stream. I love telling her that one because it leads into all of the other times that I frightened her with my adventures. Though, there is a glimpse of a smile when she hears them, pride maybe, because once again it reminds her of her daddy and uncle.
She would leave it all behind, the chemotherapy, the plethora of pills, the constant pain and sickness, the doctors, and a past that she endured with dignity. That is the power of the mountains, they can renew you, even if for a moment, a single breath, and fill you with the energy of nature.
She will take this energy, stand up with strong legs, grab her wooden walking stick and start to gently walk down the trail and before she vanishes into the Douglas-Fir trees, she will turn back towards the cabin and give me and her dog a gentle smile. One that tells me she is going home and that she is ready. She will blow us a kiss and then turn and walk down the path until I cannot see her anymore. She will walk until she becomes a part of the earth again and it will be a good death.
This recurring thought is there, I am just waiting for her call for us to leave it all behind.