Remembering is holding on to the memories that have shaped and defined our lives. I would love to be sharing a garden post with you today but it will just have to wait…I flew in from California early Friday morning, zipped off to the house, exchanged some hugs, spent 10 minutes seeing how well my wife had cared for the garden(well done Hun!), packed and drove 280 miles to Baton Rouge to see my son Benjamin. Time together that I think we both really needed. (FYI – to my English major friends…yes, some lengthy sentences but that is how my thoughts come out most of the time)

I read a blog post this morning from a young artist who uses acrylics, bold colors and textures depicting the sights and motions of the world around us. I say motion because her paintings, at least to my eye they convey movement, motion and energy. My tastes tend to be less abstract than her art, nonetheless I can still see and feel the energy she captures. She tells of creating a special painting to take to her infirmed mother. Her post caused a flood of thoughts and a vivid memory.

The triggered memory was a vivid day long memory I shared with my father in October of 2001. This was the last time to see him before he passed away at the end of following month. We were able to get him loaded up into the minivan for a drive.  He asked to be driven up into the mountains around Bakersfield, California. We drove up into the Walker Basin, an area where we had spent time hunting quail. The Walker Basin is one of those stark but beautiful places, rarely visited off the major highway passing through the Tehachapi Mountains…..probably just as the residents spread out across the area would prefer.

We returned through Bodfish and stopped at the park in Kernville adjacent to the Kern River. It is a quiet place where we had spent countless hours fishing, both here and far upstream into the Sierras. I unloaded the wheelchair and pushed Dad down the path to be near the river. We could hear the sound of the water gurgling and splashing over the polished rocks and boulders. There was a young man doing his balancing act, hopping from boulder to boulder, trying to find the best locations as he stalked the rainbow trout. I remember as young child marveling at the balance and daring of my father as I watched doing the same ballet across streams and rivers….always wanting to be able do what I witnessed him doing. Our young angler caught several trout while we watched. The simple joy of watching him do something that Dad and I had shared so many times brought a smile to both of our faces, a silent communication that requires no words. His last weeks were a constant battle with the pain that was consuming his body but he still found relief and joy in sharing our memories, even if silently said.

I had an inexpensive disposable camera on the trip. Even in its simplicity it captured images that are priceless reminders of that day and the thousands we shared before those last few days I had with him. Over time our relationship had evolved, from a son looking up to his father, through the tumultuous years of a rebellious hell raising lad and culminating in my father becoming my best friend. The simple picture I share below is a powerful image and memory for me. It represents a view that he and I shared, he saw it, I saw it, it captures a moment in time that touches my heart every time I look at it. It represents memories  that I strive to both create and share with my family.

Cherish those special moments and create as many memories with those that you love as time and God will allow.

The Kern River from the park in Kernville, October 2001.