The Horizon

I once was but am no longer

A child thin as a rail

Why walk when you can run

Sitting still was just not possible

I once was

A father’s son

Who would have listened better

If he had only known

How brief the visit

I once was

A rebel, long haired, bell bottomed

Dressed for the revolution

Mourning King and Kennedy

Watched as the change we had hoped for

Ended with Weathermen becoming stock brokers

I once was

An ally working in the back offices

Supporting amazing people that

Helped the poor, the ill, the muddled and confused

Then on to clinics that cared for the health of woman, children and families

And even when I left the world of care for people

I got the chance to help those conserving the

resources of our planet

to make the world safe for the beings in our oceans, on land and in the air.

I once was

A young lover and over time

A fair husband

Bound together by kismet, love, loss and luck

Only separated by “until … do us part”

I once was

A father of young boys

Chasing the elder

With the younger on my hip

Theses days they are minding me

Helping me navigate a world

No longer familiar.

I once was all these things

But am no longer

As I look at the future

I am beginning to imagine

What I could become

And although there may not be

A myriad of possibilities

My well worn ideals, practical experience

Passion and compassion and

understanding that all this will pass

Give me all the tools I need to

make the most of what is on the horizon.

Solitary Musings on a Foggy Morn

The fog more than a mist shrouds the tree lined border of our yard

The birds not visible are in conversation somewhere nearby 

Otherwise I am left alone this morning 

It will rain soon.

You always loved the rain, windows open at night 

to catch the lightening’s flash and the thunders crash

You slept well to the rhythm of the patter of the rain

I wonder if this morning you’ve woken from a dream filled sleep

On a soft bed made of clouds

And if you are with our parents and our child

Are you transformed or do you spend your time in a familiar form. 

When I recite to myself the infinite numbers of whys and hows I love you,

I begin with your hard won wisdom, born of the troubles we’ve seen, your sense of adventure, your curiosity and the depth of your sense of humor.

I loved to make you smile and spent a lifetime thinking of ways to make you laugh.

Friends and family alike would see something that struck them as odd, funny or outrageous and save it for their next conversation with you. Just to be rewarded by a burst of your laughter. 

You were all in, on the things you loved, your children, grandchildren, godchildren, friends, Ruby and even saved a little for me.

Your exuberance for experiences in life was awe inspiring.

You became over time an excellent story teller and accumulated so many wonderful life experiences to share.

I will never forget listening to you at a friends party when someone mentioned living on a house boat. And you said “I’ve always wanted to live on one.”

The funny thing was at that moment we had been together for over twenty years and I had never heard about this life long desire but if someone had handed you the keys you would have had me packing and if it had pleased you I would have been whistling while I did.

Although I can’t wish us a Happy 46th Anniversary for me it will be filled with gratitude for those spent together.

I hope that you will be rocked to sleep tonight by the waves neath your houseboat listening to the patter of the rain with brief flashes and gentle sounds of thunder in the distance.

With undying love and gratitude. 

Danny

Now that she is gone

It’s spring and the beauty of nature abounds

As I look up at the trees framed against the white clouds 

and the blue blue sky, the trees have never looked so green

A gorgeous red cardinal flys past me as if to say 

hey we too have dressed for the occasion. 

I seem to notice beauty wherever I go 

it’s certainly in the faces and the smiles 

of our grandsons, and in the new found elegance 

of our granddaughter riding a pony bareback. 

I catch myself as I turn to tell you 

how my heart feels as if it has been gripped 

and my breath taken away by the sights 

that have never seemed so precious before.

They say that when one looses one of your senses 

That the other senses are heightened 

and that could be true now 

or it could be that in the past 

That you were my focal point

and everything else was just a blur. 

Whatever the cause 

of the veil being lifted from my eyes 

I know that you would be, that in fact you are 

pleased and are celebrating the fact 

that your Danny is finding beauty in the world a 

week before our anniversary.

Her Story

Her story

I need to

I need to tell 

I need to tell her story

Over and over 

Bits and pieces

pieces of the puzzle 

Swirling in the air 

Forming a vision 

A vision of her in motion

I see her smiling 

I hear her laughter 

She is calling to me

Oh Danny, oh my Danny

Why aren’t you dancing?

I need to keep her spirit alive

I need to keep my spirit alive

I need to

I need to tell her story

Navigating a rock strewn icy trail with crutches (a note to Norma)

I am beginning a new journey and I am grateful for the vast, crazy, painful set of experiences we had because I have become sensitized, aware, more conscious of how precious time and being present for each moment of it can be.

At some point in the not-too-distant future I will no longer be able to appreciate a beautiful sunrise or sunset nor the lapping of the waters on the shore of the sound or the birds migrating with the seasons and hearing their call as they fly overhead.

You know that I love to watch the hawks and the eagle circle and glide above the treetops keeping their gaze on the ground below and to pump hard on the pedals of my bicycle and feel the sweat run down my body as I climb a hill.

I love the first bite of a toasted everything bagel with vegetable cream cheese after a long ride and the sweet taste of the “do it yourself” machine made cappuccino even though I know that it is liquid chunks of chemicals and calories I am ingesting with every sip.

I am learning to love the friends and family members that are checking in on me, inviting me to dinner, walks in the woods, trips to Nairobi and Provence France even though I am not ready for big decisions, or travel abroad.

As I recite the things that I am grateful for and include the decades we had together, it does not fill the void of your passing. People who know say that it split our souls apart and that must be true because I can feel the jagged edges of my soul without you.

I am incomplete and I am just learning to navigate. I feel like I am walking with crutches on a rock-strewn icy trail, but I know that you would not let me wallow in self-pity, and I am grateful for the lessons in patience, persistence, and perseverance that we two kids learned as we grew into one together. I will just have to apply those characteristics and those hard fought and hard-won lessons to the journey I am making without you by my side but still so present in my heart.

My Devotion

My places of worship are the trails along the water,

those that are under a canopy of trees that snake past rivers and lakes

and through overpasses where I can see the sun reflected in the water

while white swans gently swim in pairs.

My devotion comes in the form of sweat, hard breathing and a racing heart

as I push myself to pedal through the pain

and climb the inclines of the mountain trails.

I have ridden with white tail deer that bound into the woods and red cardinals that

swoop across the trail, past trees felled into the lake by beavers and barely missing

chipmunks and squirrels as they bound across the trail.

By the the time I get to my destination I am centered, in flow, and in sync with the

wonders of nature.

And then service is over and I return to the world of pain and suffering.

Stuck

Stuck, betwixt and between

Stuck, smack dab in the middle of the proverbial rock

and the increasingly familiar hard place

Stuck, no two steps forward and one step back

Just stuck in limbo.

What can we do?

What can we wish for?

Another shock to our system

Another shoe drops

Another doctors sad face

Another diagnosis

Another web search

Another set of tests and prescriptions and side effects…….

Truly, what can we do

What can we wish for?

Stuck, no two steps forward nor one step back

Just stuck in limbo.

Just Present

Before you wake

I worry

And then straighten up around the couch,

I fold the blanket,

making sure that the things you will need are in reach

I bring fresh water and a clean glass

To the little black table on wheels

that holds the bottles of pills

some that will help you feel better

and some that will make you feel worse

but hopefully stop the cancer in its tracks

For a while

When you wake

I worry

That your body will flush as it sometimes does

And your heart will race

And you will need to sit down quickly

and wait until

This tortuous morning ritual subsides


When we talk

I worry

That the challenges of the disease

and the difficulties of the treatment

make the thought of a full meal

to break your fast so unappealing

That you will only endure

A small portion

so you can take the morning assortment of pills.


When we cuddle

I don’t worry

I am present

Last meal of the day done

Dishes being splashed and sprayed

With a low rumble from the kitchen

My arm around your shoulder

Just taking it all in

Neither replaying the tiny terrors that filled the day

Nor those unknown ones that will surely surface tomorrow.

My soul and yours

Cuddling on the couch

No past no future

An endless embrace

a boat gliding on the water

A boat gliding on the water

a boat

gliding

on the water

My tears fall like raindrops 

The depth of my sadness

Is reflected in the ever widening circles

They make in the still water

 

This morning I slipped under your covers 

And shaped my body to yours 

And we lay in our embrace

Your hand resting on mine

 

Last night you held and squeezed my hand

As the nurse hurt you

Trying in vain to find a vein 

 

I dream of times past

A beautiful day In Central Park 

On a boat gliding on the water

Instead of tears I see 

The beauty of your smile in our reflection 

In the stillness of the water

As we drift across the lake

 

Let’s dream of future times

And that the times we are enduring 

the tears i shed as I stand helpless 

Watching as you suffer

The treatments that ravage you as they 

Clumsily seek to battle the tumors within

I hope and pray that our sacrifices 

Will give us back some time 

 

Time for you and I to

Stroll hand in hand through the 

galleries and museums 

share meals, quips and laughter

As we people watch in the city

Take walks in the park 

And sail across the lake 

On a boat gliding on the water

A boat

Gliding

On the water

To Have and to Hold

Under a maple tree

in the afternoon sun

on a beautiful day in May

We said our vows

To have to hold …

To love and to cherish

Didn’t have a clue about

The roller coaster

We had boarded

Without the faintest glimmer of

what the future would hold

But that day in May

When I looked into your eyes

I said to myself

There is no place on earth

That I would rather be

Those early days

On any given Sunday

Sleeping in

New York Times sections

spread across the bed

Picking the movies

we would see later that day

I would say to myself

There is no place on earth

That I would rather be

There were rough times

Early on…..

I could have lost you

My grandmother nursed you back to health

No thank you required

it’s what I do

She would say

And as I wept, grateful for

your safe return to my arms

I would say to myself

there is no place on earth

that I would rather be

Since those days there have been

Times of joy so sweet

Mixed with times of pain and suffering

Together we lost so much and so many

Together our children and grandchildren

Have grown and flourished.

And through those times

I would say to myself

There is no place on earth

That I would rather be

And today

Decades from that day in May

No matter what life tosses our way

I repeat our vows

Knowing full well

The depth and breadth of their meaning

Knowing what I couldn’t have even imagined

When they first passed my lips

And say to myself

there is no place on earth

that I would rather be

To have and to hold

And to love and cherish you.

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