Monday, September 22, 2008

Things I know about picking up the pieces...

Memories are sometimes bitter/sweet. A subject I have written about before. Today is not about the bitter/sweet really. I was laying in bed in the very early a.m. The ceiling tiles had been counted more times than I cared to remember. I turned and stared out of my window and looked at the stars. I thought about My Sheila and wondered about times past. Not just about her and our life but about my life as a whole. My childhood, spattered with things that followed me right to the present. Some of them not really so great but none of them bad. I honestly can not recall a bad time in my growing years.
Starting out in Florida, with the ocean and sun and a life with parents that loved me totally. Never was there a doubt about that. Fishing and beaches and more friends than I can count. The moments only shattered now and then by the events that changed me I am sure forever. Things in my mind this morning but not in type this morning. Saved maybe for another time.
Moving to Arizona when I was six. More friends and more"encounters." Still no bad memories. Beautiful weather that gave me my first glimpse of what Autumn was supposed to look like. Laughter and smiles so common there wasn't time to have sad or bad memories. Returning to Florida three years later and making new friends and starting some things all over again. Realizing that each time we moved, I picked up the pieces of my life and carried them with me. Understanding this morning that though they weren't bad memories, they were sad sometimes. Saying goodbye to old friends and meeting new. Each time a brand new experience. Each move bringing with it new events and new experiences. Seeing things from the past when we would return to a place we had lived and wishing I could retrieve them and pick up where I had left off. Friends that had moved on and filled your void with another friend. Moving then to Canada at 12 and once again, starting over. new and beautiful events and scenery. Mountains that surrounded us in the valley we lived in. A fifteen mile drive back into the wilderness, no running water, no electricity...only streams and wood stoves and Coleman Lanterns. Walking out of our front door and looking up at the mountains and trees. The tallest Ponderosa pines and Larch trees I had ever seen. The smells of the wood burning in the cook stove. Elk and Moose walking through our field of 500 acres, unafraid of us. Black bears that roamed sometimes too close to our house, hoping for a meal of piggies or chickens. Streams filled with Rainbow Trout to catch and the water, never seeming to warm up. One family, 5 miles back further than we were, thankful they had daughters. Learning to live a new life and survive a new way.
Moving once again back to the States, to Nebraska and civilization. I guess that's what it was called. Seventeen years old, leaving behind a girl and a lifestyle that had made me older than my 17 years. Too mature to "hang" with the ones my age, too young in years to be wanted by the 30-40 year olds I was accustomed too. Picking up the pieces of almost 18 years of new places, new people and trying to figure out where it was I really belonged. Finding love with a woman twice my age for a time because, well she fit my world.Being told one day that we couldn't share a life together. "The world won't accept it" she said. Confused again at where it was I was supposed to be. Relationship after relationship, never able to stay in one because my life was about moving on to new places, new events. Again, never a bad moment in my life, only sad ones when I said goodbye.
From Nebraska to South Dakota to Texas to Nebraska to Iowa, these were my homes. Finally settling in Iowa for 20+ years, raising two daughters, loving one woman, something very new all in of itself. The wanderer in me promising My Love I would not ask her to move again, at least until our daughters were grown. We had already seen 3 states in 5 years of marriage. No longer having to pick up the pieces from old places, old friends left behind to start over again. Different. But not bad at all.
I laid there this a.m., reliving each place, each life and each Love that I had left behind. I realized that although I had not moved, something huge had occurred in my life 2 and a half years ago that left me trying to pick up the pieces again. Realizing this morning that the ONLY thing I ever really got to take with me was my memories. Anything else was "bio-degradable" by time. I felt the tears. I fought them and called my self an idiot out loud. I told myself I had picked up the pieces of dreams left behind, loves and friendships gone by for 45 years. Why... why is it so hard to pick the pieces up today? Why am I so afraid of moving on when I have made it a lifestyle since I could remember?
Perhaps... maybe this time, the event was BAD, not just sad. The loss of my Love wasn't like moving away. An event I could go back to one day and "look her up." For the first time in my life something was permanent. It couldn't be undone. It could not be revisited as all the other things in my could be.Memories would only bring on more memories. Tears begot more tears and sorrow brought on more sorrow. And now, I am scrambling to pick up the pieces again. Trying to put together a life, a puzzle of sorts, except that one piece is missing now.
My life has been a giant jigsaw puzzle. One of at least 1000 pieces. Everywhere I moved, every friend and every love and event was another piece to put in the puzzle. The puzzle that is a portrait of my life. An absolutely beautiful, life enriched, blessed puzzle that would be a Thomas Kincaid portrait if it were painted. The vibrant colors of more love than a man deserved. The cascading waterfalls of a background of life and friendships. The dark colors of trees that are some memories and the mountains, filling the backdrop of places I have climbed. Can this Puzzle be completed with a piece now missing? Can I pick up the pieces of a shattered life as I have done forever it seems?
What I know about "picking up the pieces" of life is this. There is always something, some part of yesterday that gets left behind. Sometimes, the pieces simply get to numerous to hold all at once...


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