The area is located in Wells State Park, accessed by taking Route 49, and Dad’s particular spot was along a walk he frequented, a narrow path carved out of the ever-encroaching flora. My jaunt today bypassed his path. Instead, I opted for a rock-strewn dirt path that paralleled the power lines, the constant hum of the wires accompanying me as I trudged along the meandering trail.
In past postings, I have mentioned this spot. It is where I paid homage to my father, for he died just over two years ago and here I built a little secular shrine in his honor. A plaque blends seamlessly into the bark of an oak tree, and below I built a little garden. Near the tree is an old stone wall, and just to the end of it sits a massive rock, a perfect perch to watch the lagoon where herons roost.
Over the summer Julie and I ventured there, to sit quietly and gaze out into the spires of dead trees, where the herons had built sturdy twig nests. The squawks and cries of the heron chicks reverberated across the swamp. If we sat completely still, we were treated to the magnificent sight of a heron in full flight, its primordial presence flapping in slow motion as it circled and landed on a twisted branch. The chick eagerly strained its neck, beckoning for sustenance.
Today started off cool, with mid-morning temperatures in the 40’s. I quietly walked along the trail, with camera in hand, and arrived at the memorial. I enveloped all my senses; the rustling of the crisp, oak leaves above; the soft, diffused wispy Hopper-esque clouds; the distinct aroma of early fall decay, and the cool, rough surface of the stone.
I said hi to Dad, and sat in silence. A lone hawk swirled effortlessly in the brilliant cerulean sky. Another heron flew into view and perched upon a limb. A frog suddenly appeared, peered up at me and, with a squeal, submerged. The swamp grass sensuously waved in the cool, September breeze, and I became one with the sheer ethereal beauty of nature.
‘So long, Pops. It was nice coming here to see you. I hope that all is well in your world. I miss you very much.’
I got up, took one more look around, and left. Along the way I took a few photos, of the foliage and of the deep, eerily dark woods, and another pond, where lily pads bathed in sunlight. Two turtles were sunning on hummocks, and everything was just perfect.
Every now and then, it is nice to witness nature in solitude, especially this personal patch. And even though I was alone, I know my Dad was with me in spirit.
Goodbye, Dad. I love you.
Copyright, Paul Grignon, 2012, All Rights Reserved.