Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bare Trees and Open Fields

Dear John,
It's Sunday night - the weekend is almost over. The Steelers beat the Giants and the Colts beat the Dolphins, the dishwasher is running, and the dog and I are almost ready for bed. I watched two episodes of Homicide Hunter today, and once again I thank you for never killing me.
I noticed on the way to church this morning that all of a sudden the trees are bare. The wind and rain we got from hurricane Sandy took the last of them. I don't mind - it's every bit as beautiful, just a different kind of beauty. I love seeing the bare branches against the sky. Each type of tree has its own pattern - maple tree branches grow one way, oak another, poplar another, beech another. And each tree is its own variation on a theme. You can see the bird and squirrel nests now. And if you look at the right height in a line of trees, you can often pick out a hawk perched there, watching for his next meal.
And this time of year, after the corn and beans have been harvested, you can see to the horizon again. I love the flat openness of it. The corn is beautiful as it grows, but by late summer it starts making me feel closed-in. Now, with it cut, the sky is bigger. I don't know why I love this so much - I grew up with hills and trees and buildings; Atlanta isn't exactly flat and open. But I did grow up fishing, and water - especially seen from the front of an outboard motor boat - is flat and open. Maybe this land feels like being on water. Whatever the reason, I do love it. And I thank you for bringing me here - first to the Midwest, and then to Topeka. You were always surprised that I loved it here, and so am I. But love it I do, and I thank you.
I wish we'd gotten to grow old together here. But you'll always be with me just the same. You're so much a part of me that I'm never really without you. I know you well enough to hear what you'd say, even now that you're not here to say it. Sometimes I laugh at what you'd say or do. I don't miss having you here to say your half of the old, shared jokes as much as I thought I would, because in my head you're still saying it. So I laugh at the old jokes, and know we're laughing together. We're well and thoroughly scrambled. In every sense of the word.
I love you. I've loved you since forever, and I will love you until forever. (I guess there's just no getting rid of me.) Yours for always,

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