That place in the used-to-be

My ears are still ringing and my head is still buzzing or humming from the road-wind and travel and my arms and legs can still feel the pulling and turning and little bumps in the roadway that have embedded themselves into the corporeal memory of my day and afternoon.  We have traveled, I and me, from the south to here again and have resumed the new habits and routine that have become mine in these last days and week.  I have returned to here from there, from my home and home to this place of preparation and waiting.  The long road and miles took me back to that place that has been mine and ours for these many years, that place of rest and sanctuary from the world and its assailing us and me.  I have found myself here again after being there for only a couple days and my mind is still there as these keys type and start and stop and wonder at the words as they come and go and form and don’t and retype themselves as the clothes tumble in the dryer and I wonder at who’s sleeping and not.  I wonder at who has cried today and not.  I wonder at the quiet here and the eyes in the pictures and the empty pillow and the couch that used to be there in our bedroom and is now here in my living room.  It’s tall and large and greenish golden brown and fit in that first and intended place and is now huge in its occupying of space and then.  It looks like it belongs somewhere else as I think of tomorrow and the people who will be in mine and the other people’s tomorrows in which I will not be in substance and form.

Words came to me in the turning of the wheels and the passing of the wind and sahuaros and stands of shoulder-high sunflowers in their patchiness and grounded and monster junipers with their blue-berried cones all jumping and a-gaggle in their hodge-podge placement and positioning on the hills and passing landscape with the prickled-pears and cow-tongued cacti that clung neatly and a-jumbled along the side of the carven hillsides that bound and bordered that twisting ribbon of concrete and asphalt for those many miles from there to here.  Those many miles that spoke in sundry tongues and painted images with their palate of words and thoughts that fled in happenstance at and in their impermanence, their scattered thoughts and round again and between glimpses at the guardrail and the mountains that command in their presence, Do come and stay and make anew that home and home and prepare the way for those to follow like the earlier pioneers who made their trails and forded streams and were the first and first as they went away.

I pondered the thought of this not being home yet and the gentle pressing of keys that told of hating the place where lonely lives, that ghosted realm of things and people gone from where they used to be, gone from where they’ve always been and not within reach or touch or the distance of a cross-room glance, but gone…and it lives alone there and waits the knocking door, the familiar step, the simple look, and the…rolling tears and the empty chair.

And the images of faces known and voices left behind, those Sunday mornings of yesterday and what they held and laughter and friends and none await me yet and the past is full and the present bare and the mountains beckon me and tell me that they will be my first friend here, as I think of my first friend there and my last one, too, and note the passing of time that was short and the leaving soon…and here we are, wondering at what tomorrow will bring.

4 responses

  1. Nutballs

    Very beautiful words that describe an indescribable feeling. I know this must be so hard for you and I can only begin to relate. The last day of a work trip can never come soon enough for me, so I can’t imagine the loneliness of knowing that months still lie ahead without the return of those you love into daily life. We shall be home together soon enough, and our lives and memories can meld together once again. We love you, Dad, and miss you dearly.

    September 7, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    • Thank you, Nate…I’m looking forward to that day when our lives and pathways and memories can meld again…wonderful stuff. I love and miss you, too. 🙂

      September 7, 2010 at 4:43 pm

  2. byronhj

    There are few things that so powerfully make one appreciate the touch and sound of loved ones as being alone for an extended period of time. It is true even in a world of cell phones, texting and email, I cannot imagine the depths of loneliness that some must have come to in times when it was months to cross a continent in a wagon train, or years off to war with almost no word for either soldier or family at home.
    I feel the ache of your heart my friend in your , as always, excellent writing and I would hope to encourage you more than I think I am able, but that road ahead though unknown is, by all appearances, a good one, and most of your loved ones will be with you before the next summer comes. Hang in there! And keep writing, it makes it seem less like you’ve moved away from us. Climb a beautiful mountain for me!
    (And if it helps any, its gonna be 105 degrees and a sauna in Phoenix today)

    September 8, 2010 at 11:12 am

    • Thank you, dear Byron, for your encouraging words and the reminder of what is ahead of me. I don’t know where we/I would be without our technological advances to keep us in touch with the loved ones who are afar, as you mentioned them being in the days of our ancestors’ past. It’s a comfort to see your and others’ faces on the computer each night and to maintain that glimpse into your lives that our social networking sites allow. It does seem that we’re not so far away, somehow. I intentionally seek a specific view of the mountains each morning and have thought of you and your out-doors heart a couple times as I thought of what is in my “backyard” and down the road. I hope to be out on the trails this weekend and will think of you again in doing so. Thank you again, my friend…coming to you live from a breezy 85 degrees in Murray, Utah. 🙂

      September 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

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