June 8th, 2005

abstract butterfly

off the trail

"I wander, not knowing the way.
I stumble when the brush thickens.
When we reach the clearing,
we'll think we have home in sight".
--poem of mine about a day getting lost with my nephews on a shortcut in a woodland full of cedar and cactus

I have a picture I've stared at a fair bit lately. It's about a day in Disneyland, many years ago. I went with my wife, my sister-in-law, and my two nephews. We had a great time that day, even though the air was fraught, if we had only known it, with the hint of rain. We rode the Pirates of the Carribean, even though sometimes this venerable ride looks a bit tired, like those odd pirate expressions that arise on the various internet "talk like a pirate" days. We sat in the life-size teacups, and spun and spun and spun.

In the photograph, I'm sitting there, on one of those amusement park benches, in a green jacket, with a smiling nephew on each side of me. There is a tree overhead, and blooms all around. We're a vision of good humour, windbreakers and baseball caps. We returned to our little foothills home, full of favorite ride stories and good cheer. I believe that early that morning we began to climb a mountain, got partway up when time ran out, and then stared off into the foggy distance, into unknown places.

A year ago today we lost the older nephew in that picture, Will. It's hard to accept that he's gone. I look at that picture often lately. We think we reach the clearing, and we have home in sight, and then things change. But we keep stumbling through the brush, because to do otherwise would be to lose our way completely. When I stare out across the fog, I can't see everything, and sometimes can't see anything.
But I keep peering at this picture, and seeing that moment for what it was, and remembering that good day.