Thursday, 19 September 2013

A Season for Grieving

Pocono Pines

Thursday was the Harvest Moon. It was also my deceased stepfather's birthday, and today is the year anniversary of my father's passing. A few days ago I visited the Highland Lake Inn, outside of Flat Rock. The early morning mist, the sky above the lake, the edge of autumn in the air reminded me so poignantly of this very time last year, when I was in the Poconos at my father's bedside. He picked a beautiful time to die. The day after he left I spent from dawn until dusk outside, walking the quiet neighborhoods and shuttered golf course near my brother's home, appreciating the incredible beauty of leaves changing, determined breezes tempered by still-warm sun. My dad spent his own youth visiting that area, later telling us stories of "Lutherland"* and showing us the remains of foundations from old buildings. The Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania are a more northern part of the mountain chain that frames my home in Asheville, NC. Perhaps the soothing I receive now from them comes from having spent my summers as a youth embraced by the northern brethren of pines, lakes, moss, and berry bushes.

Pinecrest Lake, Pocono Pines

The seasons this year have felt significantly different to me; I didn't mind a cool and overcast spring, and summer's end doesn't fill me with a familiar, yearning despair. I'm beginning to see the beauty in things ending, appreciating that final hurrah of brilliant color, strong sun, the apparent freshness of cooling air before it becomes downright cold.

Apple galette

That doesn't mean that sadness is a stranger to me. If anything it's flowing with more emphasis, but through a clearer channel. I wonder, dad and stepdad, what do you see? What would (do) you say to me? I am saying, I miss you. In honor of my dad I am making pies as I hold vigil; one of his last phone calls to me expressed his wish that I win first prize at a friend's annual pie contest. One of the last things he said to me was how much he loved my bread.

My dad, Andre

Funny how grief comes... and goes. Thank you crickets, for singing me to sleep; thank you sun, for rising without fail. To everything there is a season, and this one is for savoring ends.

My stepdad, Ted




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