Category Archives: Poetry And Prose

The Gatherer (A Story. Or Is It?)

I sat at my computer, composing an amusing anecdote about my day.

A gentle knock at my door startled me. I checked my outside cameras and saw no one.

A few moments later, another knock, this time a little more pronounced.

I got up to see who might be there, assuming it was a friend ducking away from my camera’s view.

I opened the door to see a man of about forty standing there. He was dressed in a suit and tie.

“May I come in?” he asked, laughing.

“Uh, no. I don’t let strangers inside, at least until they show me a gun or amuse me.”

“Hmmm. No one ever declines my request. Do you know who I am?” He smiled, awaiting an answer.

“No. Insurance salesman? Bail bond agent?”

The man laughed.

“Close. I’m The Gatherer. It’s your time, X.”

He pulled a white business card out of his back pocket. He handed it to me. The only words written on it were “The Gatherer.”

“Well, that is mysterious!” I replied.

“Look closely at my eyes, X” He stepped one step closer. Instead of backing away, I stepped one step closer to him, a trick my dad taught me. The man flinched slightly. I saw a brief surprise ripple through his shoulders.

I stared intensely. His blue eyes shifted, and I saw a blue sky with a burning field in both. It was as vivid as anything I’d ever witnessed. To my surprise, it didn’t alarm me.

“Care to guess now? I think you know. Your time is up.” He grinned.

“Well, I was promised that I would live until at least 2034, so could you come back at a more convenient time?” I laughed.

The man took a step back, a look of confusion on his face.

“That’s just twelve more years, a mere drop in the bucket.”

“I’ve had a good life. I’ve loved and been loved. But I must see how the next few years play out, Mr. Gatherer.”

“In that case, we can work something out, X. But you must invite me in where we can talk like civilized men.”

I laughed. “I don’t know how to talk like a man. And I won’t invite you in. I’ll leave the door open and if you choose to enter, you do so of your own free will. We can have a cup of coffee if you’d like.”

I turned and went to the kitchen and began preparing two cups of Keurig coffee. When I turned, Mr. Gatherer was seated in my computer chair, his hands on his lap. I handed him a cup of coffee and sat on my soft couch. My cat Güino rubbed up against the stranger’s legs. I noted that the cat’s fur stood on end each time he made contact.

“Get to it,” I said as if such conversations were a part of my daily routine.

“Perhaps I can delay my duties until 2034, but there is a catch. But you knew that.”

I nodded. He continued.

“To concede you these extra years, you must both save a life and let a life willingly go. Not cause it. Just let it happen.” I could see a hint of fire in his eyes.

“I accept.”

“What? You don’t want to know the terms?” He was definitely confused.

“No. You and I both know there is a hidden catch and a deeper context. I’m not smart enough to know what that might be. I’ll take my chances and let it ride.”

He laughed. “Would you believe me if I told you that it is much harder to save a life than to allow one to pass? You’re the first person in eighteen years who managed to get me to avoid my gathering as soon as we met.” He shook his head. I’m sure he was remembering the last person who had done so.

“I didn’t know for sure. But I like creativity, and I love good stories. I was waiting on aliens, but the reaper has a nice touch to it, too. I’m not dumb. I know my hourglass is tipping over. What happens next?”

He took a sip of coffee. “I’m going to finish this cup of coffee and tell you some secrets. In full disclosure, the truths are something you think you want to know, but they will plague you until your time to meet me again comes.”

“I survived the last president and Covid. And a Love Boat remake, so I think I’ll be okay.” I snorted a little.

“First, you will be blessed with good fortune. Not necessarily monetarily. Death pings worst when you have a good life. Second, the person you’ll have to allow to pass will surprise you. Every ounce of your body will fight it.” He smiled and his mouth curved into a cruel crescent moon.

“They will have died anyway,” I said, certain I was right.

He hesitated. “Yes, that’s true. But everyone feels like they could have done something. And in your case, you could have.”

I stood up and walked toward him. “Look into my eyes and you’ll see what’s there.”

The Gatherer peered directly at my face. I let him delve into my memories. His eyes widened in shock. I knew he found that hardness left from my childhood, the same hardness that allowed me to survive it. Few people knew that it was a tangible thing sitting in my heart. He saw that I had been convinced more than once that I was already seeing my own death. And that I had witnessed death that convinced me I might not make it out alive afterward.

“Hmmm. Interesting. They didn’t tell me you were one of those people. But everyone breaks under the deal I’m making.” He patted Güino’s head. I could hear my cat purr. He finished his cup of coffee in one gulp.

“Before I go, I must share another truth with you, X. In another version of your life, you should have been wildly successful, traveling the world and helping people. That life was glorious.” He smiled with his teeth this time.

I reached out my hand to shake his. “I assume when we shake hands, I’m agreeing to the terms and conditions, whatever they might be.”

He nodded and took my hand. His hand was cold but shockingly hard and firm.

“Before you go,” I told him, “look into my eyes one more time. I already see the loophole.”

He shook his head. “No, you don’t. No one does.”

“Look, then.”

And he did, drawing in a powerful breath and holding it.

I let him peer into the future, the future I was choosing.

He saw it, the loophole closing in my head.

“That IS interesting! No one ever sees it.”

“It’s simple. As long as I am ready to go, the deal dies with me. I still have free will to make my choice. It will have given me the choice of a few more years. I will save a life and give my own. That’s the way it’s always been, hasn’t it?”

He laughed. “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”

“You as well.”

As he walked out, he turned and said, “I will meet you again, X”

“Yes, but when I’m ready. That’s the deal. And lose the suit and tie. Wear something casual and enjoy yourself.”

He closed the door behind him.

I sat back down at the computer. Güino jumped into my lap as I began to write again.

Love, X


It was 7:30 a.m. The sunrise was supposed to happen five minutes earlier. Clouds had rolled in to obscure it. Rain and storms arrived the night before. The early morning Sunday October sky was dark and beautiful. Without thinking about it, I found that I was headed to a part of the trail I rarely walked. About a quarter of a mile in, I noted the three abandoned antique vehicles in the brush. The broken, ancient barbed wire fence appeared, its length sporadically still intact.

Over the last year, the wild brush and trees on the other side called to me as I walked by them. I had no idea who owned it. The apparent neglect signaled to me that such a careless owner did not own it at all. The serpentine topography hid all clues about precisely where I was, as did the dense canopy of trees. When I approached the creek bed that flowed under the presumptive fence, I saw that the fence there was gone. Though my shoes were inappropriate for anything except pavement, I stepped through the gap.

With the second step, the air brightened, and the scent of fall decay receded. I took a dozen more steps and pushed against the gnarled branches.

Though the valley should have been shadowy and dark, I could feel the sun’s rays touching my neck. I looked behind me to see that the neglected bushes and trees were gone. In its place was an ankle-high expanse of grass and flowers. I felt like I was experiencing a hybrid dream, one combining Narnia and early-morning half-slumber.

I turned back to look. Instead of foliage, I saw a large red barn with its doors wide open. A hammer clanged rhythmically inside it. A mule stood nearby, untethered.

The hammer continued its work.

“Come on in, I’ve been waiting.” The voice was baritone and melodic.

I didn’t hesitate to walk forward. As I passed it, I rubbed the mule’s neck. It turned slightly to welcome it.

Though the voice did not match my memory, I already knew who would be standing there. I could feel the surety of it.

He appeared to be about forty-five. I never knew him as anything other than old, with a brutal life already behind him.

He wore an old pair of work pants and an oddly green shirt.

“Grandpa? It is you, isn’t it? Your voice is different.” I hesitated.

“I have the voice that belongs to the ideal me. Can I call you Little Bobby, the name I used when we sat on the porch swing together?”

I nodded. Without answering, I walked up to him and hugged him like I learned to do as an adult. He smelled of Old Spice, sawdust, and Cannonball chewing tobacco.

“Little Bobby, I’m most proud that you leaned away from hardness. It could have gone either way for you. I’ve waited forty-four years and three hundred and sixty-two days to tell you that.”

“Yes, but I feel like a failure, Grandpa.”

He smiled.

“I know. None of that is real, son. None of it.” Grandpa put his hand on my shoulder.

He laughed. “I can’t tell you any secrets that you can share. My words are for you only. That’s how it is done. One hour with you is all we get. Help me with this horseshoe, and we’ll talk. Agreed?”

“Yes. Let me help you mess this shoe up. I’m no good at this sort of thing.”

“You were almost a carpenter Little Bobby. And a farmer. Now you’re a writer. Because your job is to find a way to communicate the truth I’m going to share with you without violating the rules here.”

I stood next to Grandpa as he hammered the upper edges of the old horseshoe. The clang of metal was constant and comforting.

Grandpa began to talk, his voice even and confident. I felt like the little boy who sat next to him on the porch swing in Monroe County. Grandpa wasn’t a talkative man nor expressive. Wherever I was, I wanted to stand there forever as he talked. As his voice trailed to a whisper, I realized that the hour was over.

I hugged Grandpa. Instead of sadness, I felt joyous.

“Remember what I’ve told you, Little Bobby. Go live the rest of your life and find a way to share it. We’ll meet again one day and not in the way you expect. You’ll see.”

He turned back to finish another horseshoe, the heavy metal hammer rising and falling.

I walked through the barn doors and ran my hand along the mule’s neck again. Expecting reluctance, I found myself consumed by haste. Not to leave this place but to return to my life, one that would never be the same. In moments I was standing on the trail again, the gap between the creek and fence behind me. Light rain spattered my head and shoulders.

I know you want to know what Grandpa said to me.

I haven’t had enough time to process it, disguise it, and repeat it back. It’s likely that most people wouldn’t accept it. That’s how truth works. It’s obvious after-the-fact but a difficult pill at first.

I’ll give you a hint:

Go outside and look up at the dark sky. Feel the rain lingering in the air. Get a cup of coffee. Find a loved one and put your hand on their arm or run your fingers through their hair. Silence troubled words, worry, or distress that you have no control over your life or the world. Look inside and toward rather than away from.

Hidden inside those words is a world of truth. It’s a zen puzzle that’s not a puzzle at all.

Somewhere, the hammer still rises and falls.

Shadows turn to sunlight.

Voices echo with resonance and truth.

If you’re not sharing your voice and your love, you’re missing the point of everything.

Love, X

Random Saturday

Random Saturday

I stood on the landing outcrop. Light rain started about 6:15. It felt like a gift to just let it softly pelt me. Rain has been a distant stranger lately. It’s odd because some Septembers have been torrential.

Earlier, I mistook a visitor to be one of my neighbors. We exchanged pleasantries from opposite corners. I gave him the rest of a bottle of vodka. I already knew he had stayed up at night playing the role of reveler. He is very young, so burning the middle night oil is a requirement for him. It takes a long time to discover that almost everything that happens after 9 p.m. is probably not as meaningful as it seems. Perhaps I sound old saying that. I am old. But I have luckily not forgotten how stupid most of us were when we were younger. When misadventure was mistaken as a sign that we were living life to the fullest.

The picture of the teacup is from my recent jaunt and stay in Compton. Arkansas, not California. Sometimes I sign the inside of one of the teacups from my dear departed friend Jackie – and then hang it in plain sight. Erika signed this one with me. I dared the tall grass, chiggers, and hidden snakes to put it in a tree on the perimeter of the wilderness. I love imagining people finding them accidentally. Surely there are others like me who get lost in wondering about what led to it being placed there. I’ve left so many artifacts in Northwest Arkansas, some in the most unlikely places. A lot of them have been right under the noses of the people I know. Such secrets make me happy.

Did you know that smart televisions use about 18W of power? That’s about two LED light bulbs left on 24/7. It’s not a significant amount, but most people don’t even think about energy consumption for items plugged in yet turned off. Remember when grandma would unplug EVERYTHING because of “the electricity!”

For newer houses or remodels, I can’t believe electricians aren’t installing whole-house surge protectors. They reduce almost all chances of a surge damaging your electronics. I’ve yet to see a homeowner have it explained to him or her and have them say, “No, I don’t want that.” If I were using a rural power grid, it’s the best little bit of money you’ll ever spend. And might save your life, too. I’m surprised that many people don’t know that all power strips don’t offer surge protection. There’s a huge difference in the distinction. Another misconception: most people’s houses do nothing to stop lightning strikes from frying everything (Even really expensive surge protectors you bought at Best Buy). Whole house surge protection going through your main line is about the only way to avoid that sort of catastrophe. Really. It’s true.

Although people think it’s a boring subject, I’d like to mention water heaters, which use a huge chunk of your energy budget. First, most people have their water heaters set too high. Second, when you get a new unit, you should always buy a hybrid heat pump water heater. They pay for themselves in two to three years. They are incredibly efficient and will save you a LOT of money compared to a traditional one. Third, for the love of god, please install moisture-sensitive alarms near your water heater. (And fridge, too, if it has a water line.) Since I’m throwing out random facts, the average shower uses 2 gallons a minute. If you have a luxury bathroom, it might be twice that. Your dishwasher uses between 4 and 6 gallons of water. Larger tank water heaters are more “convenient,” of course, but most of the cost of your water heater is lost efficiency, as it must maintain a set temperature in the tank even when you’re not using it. Tankless and on-demand water heating systems are the best if you don’t have a large family or all six of your siblings living with you “temporarily” for five years while they “figure things out.”

By the way, it’s good to brag that your fridge or washer/dryer is twenty years old. Really, it is. What you don’t realize is that old appliance is drastically more expensive to use than their modern counterparts. Replacing the old one would have paid for itself in a few short years. The energy consumption of a new fridge versus one twenty years old is staggering. You might be saving something from going into the landfill, that’s true, but your carbon footprint is amazingly bigger due to the old appliance’s inefficiency.

I still get a lot of flack for being mostly oblivious to gas prices. I just don’t notice. I have to have gas, so the price is irrelevant. It’s made me much happier than most of the people I know. If money is tight, I would drive less – rather than obsess over getting the cheapest gas. I know someone who drove 11 miles in each direction to save twenty-five cents a gallon. (Excluding the fact that you wait in line and spend thirty minutes of your life going there and back. Time is not replaceable.) I calculated that it cost them $4.05 to drive. They retorted, “Aha! That’s less than I saved!” To which I replied (expecting that answer), “Aha! It costs an average of thirty-five cents a mile for the wear-and-tear and maintenance of your vehicle, doofus. Even if you don’t maintain your car properly, let’s say it’s fifteen cents a mile. You spent MORE driving to SAVE than you saved. It’s math, not your feelings.”

Confession: I am not a money genius. I waste it like nobody’s business. I acknowledge my stupidity, though – and try not to defend it.

Clever joke: hand someone a pair of work boots. They will undoubtedly say, “What are these for?” Just laugh and don’t explain the obvious comeback line to them. Just shake your head disapprovingly.

i jumped from the bed as i always do

not caring, not looking, not even for a shoe

i remember when my body was a weight

as if i’m not it and it’s not me

i don’t worry about how i look

i’ve done what i can

every other man in the world can worry

not me, not ever, never again

i will take what i have

my battery was once low, my spirit unproud

now it’s me, ridiculous perhaps

it seems like arrogance though it’s not

its acceptance for the cards i’ve drawn

and the hand i’ve played with them

i hear the sand trickling down the glass

so it’s me, it’s you

we both better get off our ass

acceptance is cheaper than fixing what ain’t broken

choose your path, now that i’ve spoken

so many of you are beautiful

some inside, some out

yet you let temporary worry

fill you with doubt

Love, X

Time’s Rustle

i got a brief unexpected glimpse

through peripheral eye

not indistinct
not vague

of a branched and labyrinth truncated future

every choice, each decision, and contrary whim

a scarcity of calendar turns

i stood breathless and in wonder

breathe in, breathe out, I whispered

above me, a bird perched on a branch

above it, a sky shielding me from the illusion of infinity

below me, the ground that belies impermanence

and the wind invisibly rustling

what more can I say
like another, just a day
if I squander this one
surely I must pay

not in dollars but in minutes

they do not casually pass me by

they flutter, then they fly



They don’t know that one day he might leave

To a foreign place with both fear and a new beginning

The voice inside him says he must suffer the baptism of the unknown

The familiar and constant, the unease and discomfort, at least they will be new

He probably won’t though

Inertia and the familiar are both adhesive and demanding

But they don’t know sometimes his fast feet point in another direction

And he talks to his feet in his head

And stays



Preface: I wrote what follows this morning…almost as a coda, on the way to the apartment after work, a black Camaro zoomed impatiently into its left lane approaching me from the opposite direction. The driver was going too fast and over-corrected, sending him into my lane and luckily swerving wildly into the far lane next to me. I had no time to react, not even to stomp my brakes, which would have certainly resulted in a multiple-car pileup. As I passed without time to feel my heart accelerate, squeals, honks, and braking behind me filled the air. The driver of the Camaro managed to gain control without being hit. He stopped in the right lane facing oncoming traffic. The capricious and erratic symmetry of just living reared its head and whispered to me.

All of these are true
none inscribed to change your hue

An undiagnosed cough ended on the kitchen floor
her love and life abruptly no more

Expert pilot fell to the ground
his loving sister to conjure the sound

A cluster of cells aligned with malignant intent
those around her yearning more time had been spent

The unbearable yet unbeatable beckon of alcohol
those who loved him clutching and watching his fall

A 92-year-old beloved woman took her last breath
a life well lived, met with welcomed death

An aneurysm unseen and unfelt and then all rendered past tense
no warning no reason no sense

Careless driver through the sign leaving one with an unfaithful spine
her arc of life flattened to a baseline

You worry about how you sound or look
how you sing, how you dance, how you might be mistook
any given moment, the universe can close your book

You have this moment to scribble your notes
to construct and imagine needless moats

Kind heart, clear eyes, and curious mind
make sure that you leave something meaningful behind

We are all preterit

This can both energize and immobilize, this insight into truth
beauty and love are in the eye of the beholder

May you live your life just a little bit bolder
no guarantee of life or that you’ll become older

Seize the day, come what may
otherwise, it will seize you
even if you do everything to perfection
these words are no mere early morning reflection
affection, expression, introspection
of these words, there is no question


Here & Now

Roaring rivulets of running rain follow their path into the storm drain

The cooler air cracks and sparks with thunder and lightning

The chilly August air feels alien in comparison to days past

I don’t know where the water might go, and I don’t need to

It always finds a way

Holiness is knowing your ignorance and being aware of your limited imagination

Things follow their own path and nature takes its course

Were we able to allow ourselves to do the same…

We bring our past along like treasured baggage

We think it defines us when in reality it confines us

You can’t live the day until it arrives and you survive it

And perhaps it will put a smile on our faces, both the rain and this realization

As we run our races, barreling towards our own finish line

No matter where the water goes or where we shall end

This day is new

You should be too


though the sky is blue

Because I’d been boiling myself off and on on the landing and baking in the sun, I turned the AC to 70. Because my AC and heat had to be completely replaced, given that it was from 1976, the new unit is incredibly powerful; its loud sound is relaxing. Güino decided to slumber in my office chair. He’s wandered the landing and the lower floor today several times. Instead of bothering him, I rolled him a foot away and pulled my red rocking chair up to the desk. It felt like I needed to write a couple of hundred words. A few thousand words later, all of it expunged from me in a single burst, I sat looking at the prism hanging outside through the slats of the window blinds. My metal front door is over 170 degrees again. I thought of all the energy reaching us from our nearest star, the sun. We only receive a sliver of its output. It provides enough energy in the form of light to power the entire world – if we’d let it. I think the same is true for each of us. Most of us have the gift of massive kinetic and potential energy inside us. It’s in our nature. Somehow, we allow our lesser forces to override our natural tendency toward power and movement. In my case, I’ve been busy. Being busy or productive isn’t always the best use of my time. It negates introspection and examining the things I’ve said and done with sufficient scrutiny. Life flicks by on lightning skates. It’s easy to live superficially, and sometimes this ease lulls us into thinking it is the preferable way. It’s not. A moment of thought, especially one of gratitude or appreciation, becomes twice as memorable when considered after the fact. Those thousands of words that poured effortlessly from my fingers as I sat here in the zone? They are some of the best words I’ve ever written. I feel it in my bones, the ones that now creak a little as they realize how long I’ve abused them.


though the sky is blue, you look to the ground out of caution
caution saves, but it also reduces
though the world is a palette of individuals, you seek understanding by viewing them through your own filter
though the world shall never spin according to your whim, you waste your
allotted moments by wishing it not to be so
the pond will fill if you hurl enough stones into it, though it will take years
your life will fill if you stop looking toward what lies behind you and spend your hours subtracting and adding according to your desires
the sky is blue, just for you
and for me
if we but let it be


and if i am not

i am the prince of tides in my secret corners
imperfect yet unbound words, feeble purple prose, naive expression

i am the boy with muddy sun-browned bare feet
in the expansive tree looking below

the boy who loved his grandma and grandpa without limit
yet spent so much time in the small yet limitless world surrounding their modest tarpaper and tin roof house

i am the man who is not his missteps, his past, or his obstacles

i am known by a singular letter, born of a rejected name, burned by the pitiful and pointless ashes of anger and addiction

i have amassed twenty thousand two hundred and sixteen days of life

each of them begins anew, though i find myself waking to the next almost without edit

i can speak in a foreign tongue, stand amongst strangers without fear, walk further than most, and yet still discover i am where i started

i am not gossamer, invisible, or silent, though all sometimes would be better servants than my nature

and if i am not, who am i

i am

love, X

La Tremana (A Story)

It was raining. Of course. The bullets hit our heads like tiny bullets, each of us wincing and not wanting to react. We stood in a cluster, looking at the green carpet someone had carefully laid around the opening in the ground. Each of us was secretly holding back tears. Our incredulity was plainly and painfully written across our faces.

The minister somberly pronounced the words: “La Tremana,” he said, and something broke inside me. As I began to cough and sob, my burst of emotion triggered those around me to do the same. Within seconds we were indiscriminately turning and hugging those around us. We could feel her loving presence floating in the rain-soaked air.

No one around me knew what the minister’s phrase meant—no one except the woman laying in artificial repose in the closed mahogany casket and me.

“La Tremana” was a phrase she and I coined to describe a fantastical and imaginary place. Perhaps somewhere we would go one day if life and troublesome timing would let down its guard long enough.

As the years passed, we added details and layers to what it might be like. The coffee shop down the corner, the cigar-smoking man who would politely tip his hat at both of us but never utter a word, and the exchange of stupid jokes, ones which would make most people cringe. If we met someone interesting, we would add the person to our mental catalog of people who might join us in our other world.

We loved each other when we were young. As young people often do, we fumbled and failed to appreciate each other. Our love always remained as a backdrop, even as we married other people, had children and enjoyed the little things that make life feel like a real one. For several years, we wrote letters. Ones detailing our lives. And then technology stepped in, and we would sometimes trade messages over instant messenger or email. We never graduated to text messages or phone calls, silently acknowledging that those might be too much. Or perhaps too emotionally dangerous for us to handle.

After my wife died, we wrote to one another more urgently and frequently. I feared she would go silent if I told her I wanted to meet. This thought seems trivial and stupid to me now.

The day I conquered my fear and wrote her, asking her if she’d like to meet, still haunts me. I told her I wanted to find a “La Tremana” for us to visit. I checked my email six of seven times that morning, waiting for a reply. I answered my phone late in the afternoon when I saw an unknown number calling. It had to be Rebecca.

Instead, a younger voice spoke.

“Dan, this is Rebecca’s niece Jane. I know you and Rebecca were close in a way most people wouldn’t understand.” A chill went up my spine as she spoke. The past tense echoed in my head. “There’s no easy way to say it, so I’ll just blurt it out. Rebecca died yesterday. I’m so sorry.”

I sat in silence for several moments. My vision dimmed, and I felt nauseous.

Because that’s what people do, I asked, “How did she die, Jane?”

“She was rock-climbing a rugged cliff. A rock broke away above her and crushed her as she stood on a narrow ledge, looking at the scenery. She fell over a hundred feet and never knew it. She died instantly. Her friend Susan was a foot away from her when it happened. Susan is beyond inconsolable. But we both like to think Rebecca didn’t know what happened. And that she was happy and seeing beauty when it was her time.” Jane’s voice broke as she finished the last sentence.

“I loved her, Jane,” I whispered. I told Jane the history between us, all of it.

“That’s beautiful and tragic, Dan! She would have said yes to you, you know. In a heartbeat.”

Before hanging up, Jane told me the funeral arrangements. Without hesitation, I told her I’d drive the couple of hundred miles to be there.

The pastor waited several moments as we collected our sobs and wiped at our tears. We were at the service for our own reasons but bonded by Rebecca and her life.

“Many of you know that Rebecca performed the marriage for my wife Lilian and me. She’s the one who told me to ‘go for it’ with a smile on her face. And I did. Rebecca wrote something a little over a year ago that her nieces asked me to share. I think you will find comfort and peace hearing them. In place of a sermon, I’d prefer to read her words, which better express life’s meaning.”

La Tremana

though it exists in a place we can’t reach by walking
it is as real as anything tangible
love isn’t touchable, but it is an abiding comfort and joy
laughter isn’t felt by one’s fingers, nor is longing
they feed our souls and give us hope and purpose

even as my life filled with obstacles and heartache
there were always friends, always love, and always laughter

though I walked the earth with everyone
a part of me permanently resided in La Tremana
it is the ideal of one’s life
created to suit you, filled with things you desire

you don’t need to travel to arrive
close your eyes and imagine your best life

go find it
and waste no time doing so
With love, R.

After the service, I hugged all of Rebecca’s friends and family. Slowly, they made their way to their cars, stopping for impromptu whispered talks with other gatherers. The rain had lessened. Most ignored it. It was the least they could do. I stood near one of the large oak trees, watching them. As Jane made her final goodbyes, she turned and looked back at me. I waved, then nodded. She smiled and touched her heart with her right hand, a mannerism Rebecca once loved.

After a few minutes of standing under the tree and being lost in the past, I walked toward my car.

And perhaps, to my own La Tremana.