On the Shores of the Tolt River

When I found the bones, I knew I listened to the right small voice, the one who whispered- look- that is where you need to be, by the water with the smooth stones.

The paths were overgrown but used, I had to duck to avoid thorns and spider webs. They still caught at my clothes and my hair. Grateful for the jeans, boots and sleeves I had chosen to wear that morning, I walked carefully, searching for a jumping point across the creek that lead to the river.

I turned a corner and found the bones.

Then a feather, grey and covered with dew. Then another, and another. It seemed that somebeast had eaten well the night before. The feathers were beautiful in their finality.

I knew I was in the right place for my heart to start smoothing over the raw splintered-sharpness it had shattered into in February. February, when she (my Kelly) died.

I found small blue flowers growing, tucked into the tall grasses.

A red leaf, floating by the shore

I piled stones together, for the gone ones, for me- baptizing them with river water, which was warmer than I expected.

One, two, three splashes of water. I took the smallest stone with me, and left another there.

Going back I took a different trail.

The right-wrong one. I didn’t find the way back to the parking lot.

I found blackberries and lichen. I ate the wild sweetness, marveled at the green puzzles.

Careful scrambling over fallen trees, retracing my steps more than once before returning to the river to start again. I took the same path back, or thought I had, but I did not pass the bones again.

Two stones came back with me, and I left there feeling hot and hungry, knowing it was time to move forward.

I drove across corn fields and up mountain roads to a beloved friend's home. She fed me more berries and we took care to sooth each other's hurts. The air up there smelled resinous, clean. The light was clear and bright.

My brother and his wife made me welcome in their lives. We laughed and drank and traded stories over meals and home brewed beer and yards of fabric and miles of walking. 

Life is moving forward, the only way it can flow. I'm moving forward- the way I know they would want me to grow, even as I leave them further behind, they are ahead of me, next to me.

The trip I took- the whole thing- has left me revived, feeling the most Me that I’ve felt in months that feel like ages.

I’m glad I went.

(Seattle, you’ve been so good to me)

{click the photos to see them in their fullness}