Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall and Falling

I don’t have the words to say how sad it is to see my mother’s mind slip away – to see the brightness of recognition replaced by the murkiness of fear and confusion. And so sometimes, I fall into despair.  But there are ways to heal, and for me, they always involve getting outside, exploring, and taking pictures.

My husband and I hiked several miles through the Shenandoah Valley National Park. Hiking with me takes twice as long as it should because I keep stopping to take pictures. Stepping across slippery rocks, I made my way to center of the stream, White Oak Run.  I perched my camera and tripod in the stream and carefully composed this image of cascading waterfalls. Deep in thought, I barely noticed my husband waving at me and shouting.  I could have sworn he was saying, “Look, over there!”  So I swiveled my head side to side.  I was in a precarious position, trying hard not to fall in the stream, and trying even harder not to get my camera soaking wet. Over the roar of the rushing water, he kept waving and shouting.  Finally, I took my shot and made my way back to him to see what in the world all the pointing and waving and shouting was all about.  As I drew closer . . . I could hear him more clearly.  “Look, there’s a BEAR!”  We watched in stunned silence as a full grown black bear shimmied up a tree about 100 yards away, swiping at branches, grabbing leaves and enjoying his treetop brunch.

We fall in love all over again.

We fall down and help each other up.

We wonder at fall, restoring us with color.

We fall short sometimes, but memories can save us.

Memories save me. Somewhere along the way I gave up on little things, choosing instead shining ideas and short roads. It was only through memories insistence that I have a beautiful longing for those things that meant little to nothing at the time, but mean all to me now.   – Henry Lohmeyer