An excerpt from a recent paper I wrote for my creative non-fiction environmental writing class. Continue reading
I want a love like my favorite flannel shirt. Soft and cozy, comfortable. Something you can wear every day, and that never goes out of style, a true classic plaid. A shirt that smells like fresh air, like firewood, like dirt. Continue reading
Good-night! good-night! As we so oft have said
Beneath this roof at midnight, in the days
That are no more, and shall no more return.
Thou hast but taken up thy lamp and gone to bed;
I stay a little longer, as one stays
To cover up the embers that still burn.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I see you there, in your fleece zippered robe, bare feet, smile. We sit at the computer, watching a television show, giggling and exclaiming together. Three of us, brought together by your love. They laugh, secure in knowing they were chosen, they are treasured, the daughters of your heart. You keep asking if you can adopt me too, and I grin and say yes. First to bed, first to rise, you usually head upstairs before we do. They have school tomorrow, so we won’t be up late. I will ride with you, and after the school run we take the dogs for a walk before going for coffee. We will meet the guys at the coffee shop. We do this almost every school day; a routine, a ritual.
Now we are left, loving echoes and memories. We listen for your voice on the stairs.
NIght-night honey buns! I hear you say. I love you!
Love you Mom! Night Mom, love you!
Goodnight, I say. See you in the morning.
January 14, 1957- October 23, 2013
Grandpa, Grandma, and Mom a few years ago.
For my Dad, one of the many Mike Smiths that exist in the world, but definitely the most important (at least in my life). You’ve taught me just about everything important in life, like how to eat pizza, play euchre and softball, how to stack firewood and how to go on long walks in the woods. You’ve taught me how to “walk it off,” to be a team player, how to be committed and a hard worker, how to laugh at corny jokes. You taught me to take advantage of opportunities, and how to be a good person. You taught me to appreciate the “classical” music of Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and the rest.
Four years ago I graduated college on your birthday, something I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top as a birthday present. You paid for four years of education at a private, liberal-arts college, and I wrote you this poem. I don’t know if I’ll ever really be able to tell you how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, and how much I love you.
Thanks Dad, for everything.
In honor of your birthday Dad I wrote for you this po-em
For though I may be far away, today I wish I was ho-me.
The world is great, but can’t compare
To you, my Father Extraordinaire.
You taught me how to drive a car,
Which let me leave and go quite far.
That same skill though is what brings me back
‘Cause throughout the world, my family is what I lack.
It’s from you I think that I’m low key,
One of the things I like the most ’bout me.
From you I got my temperament,
Way of looking at the world unbent.
Because of you Dad, for my best I strive,
And without you Dad, I’d not be alive.
You’re my mountain, my sturdy base,
As necessary as the nose upon my face.
Your beard might now be a little more gray,
But to me you’re always going to be more than just okay!
If you can’t tell Dad, I think you’re the best
A man above all others, better than the rest!
I love you Dad!
|Red River Gorge, Kentucky, November 2011|
|Baltimore, Maryland, June 2011|
“That which I have learned I leave as my legacy.
Close all gates behind yourself.
Every generation should have its own Bible.
The walls we erect to protect Ourselves from early pain often shut us off from later joy.
To immerse oneself in the natural world is to share a universal thread with every living thing.
Always declare yourself to the person you love.
Live each day not as though it is your last, but as though it is the last day of the lives of the people you meet.
All the best stories are about love.”
|Merritt Island NWR, Florida, February 2012|
Howard Frank Mosher
from the book On Kingdom Mountain