Steps thru Time

steve colby“Colonel we have a new recruit”, shouted a private.

Without looking up the Virginian pointed at his tent

Fresh-washed and attired,  the recruit stepped in quickly

The Colonel laid his book aside and with great ease followed suit.

A cursory glance was all was needed, a long, steely finger motioned a chair

“You’ve come on your own to join our adventure”? I see that you know some powerful men.

The recruit merely nodded, thinking of how, only yesterday he’d been so, so far away

Removed by the years from this very moment, now sitting here, he was left speechless at last.

The Virginian arose, a man of some stature, pacing the room, and pointing at maps

“We start from this fort to build a new country, the path will be long, the challenges great.

I can promise you little but the gift of tomorrow, and from what you’ve writ here

I see you know all about that.”

The recruit finally smiled and rose in the moment.  So very aware of what was at stake

He stepped towards the Colonel his hand full extended.  A chance to touch history now within his grasp

In that very moment the future was transfixed, everything old would become new from then on

These new steps thru time would be as he dreamed them and his part to be played momentous at last.

Follow Me….

Follow Me 10-30-14I’m watching you here

This road will lead you to me

I am so very old


Older than you think

I made these colors for you

But you don’t know me


A thousand stories told

Hear them now in the breeze

Little time to tell


I’m not who you think

He is much younger than me

I made that first spark


Follow me, will you?

This journey is just the start

Are you brave enough?

A Step into Goodbye

Cloudy Morning - popsAll the kids called him “Pops”.  I did too.  I had known him all my life, they were just always there.

All of us would sit for hours and listen to his stories of the woods, the mountains and how he loved them, how he felt so attached to them.  You could see it in his eyes as he spoke, such passion, such…yearning?  Every word echoed through the valleys of oak and maple, you could hear the leaves rustle as he talked of every step he took.

As we call him “Pops”, so she had always just been “Ma”, more than likely because that was all we had ever heard him call her.  They were so perfect together.  It seemed almost urban legend now that they were married at 16 years of age, that being the case on this day it would mark their 80 years together!  As kids we didn’t appreciate that stretch of time, but our parents certainly did.  That day, an evening of celebration was on the schedule at the town hall for everyone to celebrate.

The news that day trickled slowly at first like a melting glacier;  by early afternoon it had turned into a torrent of terrible, raging unbelief.

Pops had gone out early that morning to walk his garden as he did everyday.  There she sat, on the porch swing, her head gently tilted to one side, her morning robe arranged neatly beneath softly place fingers.    As he slowly walked towards the porch he had to have known, after all that time, all those years, how could he have not?

They say he just sat there next to her on that swing and held her hand.  When the mail came around shortly before one in the afternoon, the news spread quickly.  Those who had lived close by were the first ones there.  They stood at a distance to just look and perhaps…to say goodbye.

He let go of her hand, that last time when they finally had to take her away…it was just after 3pm.  Those who saw him said there only seemed to be one tear.  He just sat there on that swing with her, quietly, as they shared that last day together.

Every single person was amazed when he showed up that night.  Talk was held to cancel the event, but most felt that would be even worse.  He smiled, he shook all the hands, and he even tried, just a little, to laugh.  They had created wonderful story boards with pictures everyone had brought together.  Friends and family alike had contributed a thousand memories of the two of them.  He stopped and looked at every, single picture.

On the table near the end of the storyboards was a “well-wishers” table.  A large white sheet of paper covered the table for everyone to write something on.  As he got to that table he reached into his jacket pocket and retrieved an obviously old and well-worn envelope.  He gently open it and removed something that no person in that room had seen until that very moment.

Slowly he unfolded the yellow newsprint, being ever so careful to be tender to every fold as he placed it there on that table.  Every eye in that room was riveted to that news-clipping he had laid out before them.

As he pressed it firmly to the table he touched a trembling finger to his lips and placed it gently on the picture of the beautiful young woman in the picture.  There for all to see, dated those 80 years previous was their wedding announcement and a wonderful picture of two young people in love.  There was not a dry eye in the room.

The next morning we were all jolted from our beds by the fire siren that hadn’t been used in no one knew how long.  “Pops was missing” was all anyone and everyone could say.  How could that be?  Where would he go?  Why would he go? No one understood.

As dawn broke every able-bodied soul in town searched high and low for any trace, a message a note…anything.  And just like that;  there it was.  There on the front door of the old city hall building was a pink faded post note.  Written quite clearly and legibly for all to read just one simple phrase:  “I’ve gone home”.

Human nature is a funny thing.  As kids we didn’t understand it then, but the search just sort of stopped…they all just stopped looking.  I couldn’t though, I just couldn’t.   I ran across to the big field that stretched out at the foot of the mountains and stared off towards the treeline, trying to will something, some sign…into existence.

Just as the morning clouds had begun to lift and one ray of morning light filtered down…I saw him.  Strange it seems that I didn’t call out.  This was where he wanted to be.  As he got to the very edge of the forest he slowly turned towards me.  He raised his arm;  as strong and proud as any man one-tenth his age and waved towards me three times.

I could barely see, the tears filled my eyes more quickly then I could wipe them away.  I looked up to see him step into the forest, the sun broke through the last of the clouds and….he was gone.

I still sometimes go back to that spot, there at the edge of the forest.  I think of all the stories, the laughter, the love and I find I am still unable to wipe away all the tears.

Early Riser

Early RisersAs if the sky is alive with fire

Yet strange to want to reach out to it; this desire

Would a touch, be too much for any mortal soul

So crisp and alive these morning hues

Is our path etched there in those off-colored blues

Should ever a day start without this glorious palette

All too soon each sunrise is finished

Giving way to the day, as bright colors diminish

Will they be there again tomorrow? or perhaps…will I?

Near the End….

Red Star - Last oneDo you see me?  Here all by myself

Perhaps it’s not my place to turn such beauty to sorrow

All those around me, someday they will be gone too

With the next breath of winter air…is it my turn?

 

These memories seem so vast for what was so short a time

I can still feel each drop of rain, each summer breeze – the early chill of fall

But more importantly..what is the legacy I leave behind?

Will the way I caught the breeze of life be remembered at all?

 

The acorns from my branch have grown and gone

What were once specs in the sunlight, now have life of their own

Did the shade I provided and drops of morning dew help at all

When that final breeze cuts the limbs around me…will you know then?

 

It happens, expected, but still much too soon

There is a gentle sensation here among all these friends

I can see the sky about me and hear their tender, heart-felt goodbye’s

Rest will come easy now, my time for contribution is at an end

 

A gust carries me one last time…one last adventure

How grateful can I be?  To have seen and done so much

He carries me to a wide open field where I can see forever

As I settle to the earth I am content to have played my part….

Last Standing…….

Last standing 10082014

“What do you mean go in there?”, the stalks were a foot above either of our heads.  It would be impossible. Tim turned quickly and shot me his most intimidating look,  “well, you hit the ball in there so you have to get it”.  This, on fact, was true; however, he got even angrier as I laughed at the  painfully sheepish look he had hoped would motivate-intimidate me.

I stepped back to see if I could even get a glimpse of the other side of the field, we were just too short, it was too far away.  There was something very foreboding about those tall rows of corn stalks to seven-year olds.  From a distance they looked so pretty this time of year, but once you got up close,  they were like a thousand skinny kids just waiting to rip at your skin and clothes.

We stood and stared for a few minutes.  Tim shifted his weight from one foot to another.  The afternoon sunlight was fading quickly and he hadn’t had his chance to bat.  Too bad, I thought to myself as I wondered what mysterious animals, insects and who knows what…waited in there for me.

Tim rocked forward and with a push to the shoulder said “go on…it’s just old dead corn stalks”.  I grimaced…he could have left out the dead part.  “Alright, but if I don’t come out quickly you have to get help”.  We both let out a nervous giggle, I dropped my glove and moved to the front of the stalks.

You always think you know exactly where the balls goes at times like this.  Doesn’t your dad always tell you…”don’t take your eye off of it”.  I thought I sort of knew.  With a sigh and a deep breath I stepped in between the middle rows and tried as hard as I could to focus on just where it had gone.  With every step the afternoon sun seemed to grow a bit more faint.  I could hear the crunch of the dried silk and husks beneath my shoes with every step I took.

How would I ever find it?  There was no signs anywhere.  It could have bounced from stalk to stalk, hit a rock and gone another fifty feet.  I had to find it…we only had one.  I stopped quickly as I heard something off to my right.  Rustling in the corn row, not far from where I stood.  At seven you don’t understand panic, but the knot in my stomach and the lump in my throat were big enough to choke a horse; or so I thought.  I moved closer to the sound.  I turned a corner just as a big grey squirrel lunged from underneath a pile of dried corn cob.  It had been first grade since I’d had “an accident”…that was close.

I thought I had gone further but I could still hear Tim hollering from the end of the row.  I screamed back…”no, the only thing I found was a squirrel…we can eat….but not play”  I chuckled to myself and then my next step threw me onto my back so quickly I felt as though the ground had begun to swallow me up.  The stalks and husks made a soft but scratchy landing pad.  I shook my head for a minute trying to figure out what had happened.  I sat up and looked towards my feet.  There rolling gently to a stop was the ball.  It had found me.  I’d stepped on it and I guess it was showing us its opinion of getting thrown in there.

I stood up, bent over, picked up the ball and brushed the dried silk and dust from it.  Hard to believe that something like a baseball could make you conquer so many fears, in such a short period of time.  I shouted out to Tim…”I’ve got it”, true to form that day and so many years later his response was “it’s about time”.

I walked from the corn rows that day, a little taller, maybe a bit braver, and painfully more aware of the meaning of the phrase “watch your step”.  We would hit the ball around the field for a few more years before we moved on to bigger greener fields, without so many cornstalks.  But we always knew we had learned some important lessons in that field, there among those cornstalks we would play almost until the snow covered the ground and the last ones standing…were us.

There she was…..

SEW One Vibrant One

Like the simple lyric from a thousand songs

we look up and see you standing there

not alone, yet unable to see those around you

just impossible to notice anyone else

Has it been like this forever?  I think not

you wait for that special moment, when it’s all about you

is it really so easy to stand out in a crowd?

Or is it just the work you’ve done that’s paying off now

In this moment of triumph we know…it won’t last

Nature’s menacing cold shoulder will feel harsh and unkind

Before too long you’ll fade into our memory

but for just this one second, there was no one but you