THEN

 

It is a sight I have never forgotten

It is more than simply a sight

It is a large framed photo hanging prominently on the wall of time

The ship was easing away from the dock at dawn in India

The new light of the day literally unfolding in front of us in real time

Shadows becoming silhouettes, silhouettes becoming images

Brought into focus by the new light of a brand new day

People

Masses of people

As far as the eye could see

In white robes

Jammed up against the sea

Jammed tightly against each other

Completely still

And the thing that made the whole scene surreal

Is there was not a blessed sound

Not a movement

Not a sound

Dressed in white robes

As far as the eye could see

As the ship silently moved

Away

 

To have

To hold dearly in one’s heart

To hold it in cupped hands

Watching it take root

Watching it grow

Watching it thrive

Until finally the blossom turns and looks at you

Acknowledges you

Is not about possession

Possession is something entirely different

Counter productive

Relatively useless

Possession is not real

Simply the quick sharp inhalation of something pungent and strong

A quick jolt

Then very quickly gone

 

I look at her

And I see incredible beauty

It is like looking into the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean

Sitting above a coral reef

Fish of all colors

Of all sizes

Plants dancing with life

All crystal clear

In front of my eyes

In front of…no…within my life

I feel the tap on my shoulder

I hear the question

And laugh

“No, I am good”

I close my eyes

And the brilliant white light of the day

Turns to orange

With splashes of black

Then there is peace

 

We look across the high alpine meadow

On top of the world

The bear walked across the meadow

Massive

The coat…looked to be five or six inches

Ruffling in the stiff mountain breeze

He held up the range finder as we sat in the rocky outcropping

500-yards

Too far

As soon as he goes into the trees you would have to sprint across the meadow and peek a boo him

We had just made an eight-hour climb

I was not sprinting anywhere

We looked back down at the buck

Bedded down

Only the head and shoulders showing

He again held up the range finder

175-yards

He made a face

I lowered myself into a prone position

The shot echoed across the still mountain canyon

Still looking through the range finder he spoke

Do not shoot again

He is dead

A second buck exploded from cover higher up on the ridge

A mad rush through the brush straight down the canyon

I sat back and watched as successive shots rang out

275-yards when the final shot sounded

He turned and looked at me

He is down

 

We arrive

We live

We leave

Alone

Then

We gather quietly

Speak in hushed voices

About what we did

About what we found

Back then