Sipping coffee this early Sunday morning, watching the little bird that makes a stop on my back porch every morning to hop around and pick dead bugs off the pavement, preparing to leave for my long hike in the woods … and checking the blog stats.
When I wrote I Want My Boy Back, it wasn’t to promote the blog or try to gather clicks or any of that. You’ll notice I barely post to the blog. This particular post was just my way of processing the best way I know how — writing — and hoping to get Griff’s message to the world.
I never thought I’d be sitting here this morning seeing another 1,600+ views of that post yesterday, bringing the total to nearly 10,000 in the week since I posted it. Most of the views are within the United States, but it’s also reached around the world: Canada, Malaysia, Germany, the UK, Australia, Austria, Finland, France, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, China, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago …
So I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: if one infected person can infect another — who then infects another, who infects another, and another (show of hands of all us 70s kids out there who remember the old Breck shampoo commercial) … then one person not infecting another can save hundreds from this terrible disease. It’s not glorious — no runway lights, no fanfare, no headlines — but by sharing Griff’s COVID-19 experience with the world, my posse on Facebook has had its hand in potentially saving thousands from this monster.
Pat yourselves on your backs, peeps, and pour yourselves another glorious cup of coffee on this beautiful Sunday morning.
And speaking of peeps, the cracker crumbs I just tossed out onto the back porch are now being licked up by our Yorkie, B-Dawg — reminding me that not every story ends how we want it to end, so I’m thankful this one ended as well as it has. Plus, I find comfort in knowing Peeps will be back here tomorrow, hopping around, cocking his head side to side, pecking around for his breakfast, not particularly picky as to what it is.
My unofficial findings in life are that the American society has fostered a mindset of selfishness deeply rooted in the notion that some people just truly cannot grasp anything until it happens to them. Griff went for a walk around a lake at a local park yesterday and said he not only was the only one wearing a mask, a lot of people snickered at him. Little do they realize that as a Navy SEAL in training, he’ll soon be trained in the art of removing their trachea in their sleep, but I digress (and perhaps even fantasize a little). Credit my boy with the ability to just keep walking past the people whose freedoms of expression he’ll soon be trained to die for.
I’ve recognized it’s all still so infuriating to me, so I’m keeping my distance from the public. I just don’t have it in me for another argument at a Chipotle.
Instead, I’ll drive through the North Carolina countryside today, windows down, Creedence blasting, heading toward my healing, because Muir had a point.
For some, it’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The leather of a new sports car. The Mona Lisa. Tug-of-war with a puppy and an old sock. A Clapton riff. A fresh-baked pie.
For me, my Ode to Joy is the crack of a fallen twig under my foot, a forest trail painted with streams of sunlight, the aroma of White Pine needles in the air.
I have sought refuge in nature since I was 7, exploring away the rainy Willamette Valley days on a small farm south of Independence, Oregon – long before I ever realized what had pushed me deep into the comfort of nature’s cradle. A walk in those woods put me well out of reach of my alcoholic mother’s backhand. She railed, I sailed – along riverbeds, up trees, through trails that led nowhere yet everywhere. I could not only heed her call that Children should be seen and not heard, I could do one better: I could be not seen and not heard.
I found my refuge – and my soul.
The rustling leaves of a lizard’s scamper. The intoxicating stench of riverbank mud. The splash of turtles sunning themselves on river logs, startled at the thud of footsteps. Rocky bluffs that extend 100 feet into the sky – formed 10,000 years ago by the Ice Age, carved by the confluence of two rivers and whittling their way deep into my heart. The moans of the old gentleman, tall and mighty, swaying in the warm breeze – the creaking of his aging trunk perhaps calling out a quiet goodbye to his final spring.
I walk and I think.
I think and I walk.
It was only last fall when Griff and I hiked deep in the bowels of Annie Creek Canyon, along the south rim of Crater Lake National Park. As I scooped a handful of ice blue water from the crisp blue stream, Griff eyed the steep ravine to his right.
Fathers know their sons. I have one who inhales the green turf and bright lights of Durham Bulls games, I have one whose eyes reflect the neon of the Las Vegas strip, and I have one who climbs volcanic rocks because they are there.
Up he went, not even touching his hands to the dirt.
I asked this morning, but he’s not yet ready to hike again. “But we’ll do it this week, for sure.”
Because his recovery is another ravine, and up he will go.
He won’t stop to ask your political affiliation.
He won’t look to see if you’re wearing a mask.
He will steady himself, not even touching his hands to the dirt.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir