The one and only willow tree along the banks of the Harrison lake sways it's long, elegant, arms to the music of a northern wind. Mom and I stand and watch as if the theater before us was a special act just for us. The mighty mountains painted small and in layers one behind the other across the vast of the lake appear just behind the willow tree, casting the spirit of a painter, one that I could surely imagine in my father in the earlier days out from the city.
We stand still for yet a moment, bringing the steam of our coffee cup up to our lips for a therapeutic sip of the scene, and cast out a breath of awe. It is then that we applaud the nature and turn to walk within it, down the wide gravel path now hugging the old forest a whispering along the edge of the lake.
I miss these walks with mom. For years while I worked at a deli in a grocery store Tuesdays were our days-one of my days off. Almost into three years later with a far better job with amazing women, my weeks are-found full. And my weekends are found lethargic. This weekend however, I'm thinking of mom-even though I have in my head the special day of Tuesday and the loss of it all.
I should think however, any day with mom is a special day.
She has always been a soft lady with moments of excitement in her voice over anything, my mom. She is not opinionated, but, has this way about her to lightly voice a possible scenario without you knowing it until later. She's wise, and reminds me of the many things that matter and the many great things that don't.
My oldest daughter of twenty-three has become very close with my mother over the years since Tee moved out and had a baby. My children have always been close with her, though. She is Nana, and considered big Nana by her great-grand-daughter, to our amusement, because she isn't so much bigger than I.
I am so thankful for the relationships my daughter's have with my mother. When work keeps me from the important parts of family matters, my mother is always there standing strong with her arms open wide. She is my no fail. She is....my daughter's no fail.
She bakes and bakes. Sometimes I think she does this to keep busy. Mom had left her friends in Langley when they moved out here ten years ago. Mom doesn't drive and dad doesn't drive very far.
Mom doesn't leave dad's side for long either, though he's sprier then some men younger than him. But he's had a few close calls.
I wish mom would join something in the community and meet others, like she used to when they lived in the city years ago, but she won't leave dad. Not yet she said.
I know I shouldn't wallow about it as I do, but quietly in my mind-I do. Its as if I bare witness to two souls roaming a house and yard confined, though I know better of it, and know it to be not so.
Hath with the season change and all will come from my parent's home in Christmas delight. I should think of this instead, than to worry so.
Upon every Wednesday since my grand-daughter was born, my parent's would expect her, sending her momma out to do her thing. And with Christmas upon the horizon, my father will cast out one by one all the jolly noise makers that sing and dance and sit upon the fire place. And then he'll watch, oh, with delight as his great-grand-daughter will dance about the living room in tune.
He'll have also-set up lights in the back of the house and in the front house with great detail, bringing out the larger sized reindeer he'd made of wood, and that of red ribbon around the neck of the deer mom would have tied. Mom could always tie a beautiful ribbon. She recants she once wrapped presents for Woodwards back when she was young. Sometimes I try to imagine her young. Sometimes I try to imagine her with her own mother of which I never met. I sure wish I could have met her-we sound so alike.
All that comes with a change of season will be met by all of us with joy, surely. It'll also be met with a lay off of work over Christmas for myself which, I'll take in stride and think, of the many special Tuesdays to be had. As in anything, one forges on to find in the end a little something to look forward to. I shall look forward to many things come my way, paying attention to the little things and the things that most matter.
And I shall look forward to my walk with mom.
Like the photo above taken by myself with mom earlier this year upon a walk up at Cultas Lake-I shall walk again. I shall also marvel over and over again with my mother's expression year after year with the emptiness of the camp ground, from which we often pass along one section of the lengthy walk along the lake.
She will also at one point, surely as I know it, stop in her tracks and open her arms and breathe in the sharp coldness of the mountain air as if she's been cooped up too long, letting out a dramatic breath sounding ever so soothing. Smile as I will at her, knowing of her lesson, I will echo the same dramatic breath.
Woven through the mighty old trees is the path above, bringing one past the empty camp ground and to the beginning rows of summer cottages along the lake.
The cottages mark time, not just the ghostly movement of years and history of the soil beneath, but of stages of my own life. Often than not I see a quick image of a small redheaded girl about four years old bouncing down the path. A new path to us. And then as if a thousand years had passed I see another redheaded girl bouncing down the path. Oh, how the years have passed when once I held her little hand in mine, and now the legacy of her own-mirrored image that makes me shake my mind from past to the present.
It is along this very path that I first took my mother and young daughter many years in the past when my parent's lived in Langley, and I was new here. Mom had taken a Grey Hound bus all the way out on a glorious cold sunny day. She had marveled the scenery all the way out with sight of the great Mount Baker in the distance glowing under the morning sun with pink snow.
My little daughter Tee and I brought mom up to this path. Mom's expression was of wonder even then, and with stories of her youth coming out to the lake from the city.
She was enamored with this area and thought how lucky we were. I wouldn't have never thought years later I would have mom out here for good, hm, still walking this path with me.
In those days the row of cottages along the lake shore were all mostly quaint signs of histories past. Mom and I loved every one of them. They spoke in low whispering tones as we would pass them laying quiet without wintering humans, each with a different story and different weathering image. Some were sad, and some like one, never had the storm shutters ever opened upon a summers sun. It stood like that for years. Last time I was up there..... it was gone, like a puff of dust, and just like the rest, one by one.
Its a bittersweet walk these days, having not my little one's along the lake searching for eagles feathers and unique rocks to show me, and, watching as the years have brought money and new cottages to the lake. However much though, we have the memories. And through conversation we'll keep those memories alive.
As for the cottages? a few remain astonishingly, resilient, and gallant like soldiers nestled tightly along side of
enormous structures from which people consider today, cottages.
One day I'm going to save one of those little cottages. But until then, mom and I'll continue to walk mindful of the very things left of nature and history, which still bodes larger than anything money can ever change.
I bid you a moments farewell for now. Until our next walk~
PS.I once wrote an essay titled-You Can Change My Landscape But You Can't Change Me. I sent it to the Letters Section of our local newspaper.They published it.Its a yellowing piece of paper now, with others that were published, but it had people talking for a time.