This was the last time I was going to see him before he went to Alaska. He was going to be there a month. It was hard for me to leave. I stumbled and stammered, not knowing how to say goodbye, like he was somehow leaving forever. I was about to break down, when all of a sudden a hummingbird appeared behind me. He pointed behind me. I turned around and it just hovered and looked me in the face, watching me from about a foot above my head. It looked at me intensely, like it was trying to tell me something. My mind was in tatters until then, but my focus sharpened. All of a sudden I knew. I pulled it together, gathered my wings, and flew off like the hummingbird, like he would on a plane in a very short while..
I stopped at Circle K on the way home from a disappointing afternoon and bought myself a pack of peanut butter cookies. I just had some change, but I managed to sneak by with what I had. I was not broke. I had money at home, and food to eat in the fridge, but I was hungry right then and there and I didn't want to wait.
I got on the bus to head home, already scarfing down my cookies. I watched a family of four, mother, father, and a little boy and girl get on the bus and head my way. The kids raced to the back and took their seats. I slid over and made a space. Dad asked mom if she wanted to sit down, but she said no. so he sat down himself. I listened as they talked, so much kindness and thoughtfulness in the way that they spoke to each other.
The little boy squeezed in between me and his father, using my leg as an armrest, as little boys sometimes do. I smiled, trying not to snicker. He sat there for a bit and watched me eat my cookies. I only had two left. He kept staring at the cookies. I tapped Dad on the shoulder and pointed my pack of cookies to the boy. He nodded and I offered them to the boy, but he didn't want them after all. Dad told me he just had just eaten a bag of chips and probably wasn't hungry.
As the bus took off, I kidded to Dad that these cookies were my dinner, and he nodded and we both smiled again. I finished up the last two cookies as we rode. The family's stop came and they all grabbed each other and started getting off the bus. Dad was the last one to get off and as he did, he turned back to me and held out his fist. I opened my hand and in it he placed 75 cents. He told me that maybe I could go get another pack of cookies.
I was speechless. I wanted to tell him something, tell him that I wasn't really that hungry, that I was just kidding, that I was going to eat a big salad when I got home, but all that came out of my mouth was a quiet "thankyou."
He got off the bus and caught up to his family and the bus drifted away. I sat there with 75 cents in my hand, letting this amazing act of kindness sink into my head. I thought about it over and over until tears stung my eyes. My stop came and I jumped off the bus like a little boy, thinking about which kind of cookies I was going to buy as I made my way home...
"Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." -Hebrews 13:2
with just a couple cookies
a little boy turns me
into an angel
very next day
at the top of their voice
There were not many happy times with my father. He was an abusive man, and as my brother and I got older, the abuse got worse. But things weren't always that way..
When I was seven or eight, my father worked as a park ranger and he knew the woods in and out. Sometimes, he would take us camping. It was real camping, primitive, and we all lived in the heart of the woods for days at a time.
He took me on a walk with him. It was just he and I. We came upon a bush with red berries. At home, we had all kinds of bushes with red berries, but you were never supposed to eat them. He plucked off a berry and told me to put it into my mouth. I hesitated, wondering if this was a trick. The flavor was familiar, but I could not place it. He told me they were wintergreen berries.
They were wonderful. I had never tasted real wintergreen before. They tasted like the sun shining in cool air. We picked a handful, and went on our way. It was the first and last time I had ever seen a wintergreen bush..
on my father's
My wife was leaving for work, but came back into the house to let me know some kid was outside asking for me. I asked her who, and she said she didn't know. I walked outside and saw it was Shiloh, one of the neighbor kids who lives with his aunt and grandmother on the other side of the complex.
I had seen him around, but had never asked his name until one day he asked me mine, and to my surprise remembered it the next day when he said hello. He was six years old and I was impressed that he remembered my unusual name. We talked a few times, and it always cheered me up when he said hello, even though he always seemed a little lonely.
I asked Shiloh what's up? He asked if he could come "visit" me for awhile. He told me his grandma wasn't home yet and he was locked out of his apartment. He looked a little lost. I said sure, come on over, but just about that time his grandmother showed up, slowly strolling up the walk. Shiloh told me thank you, a smile now on his face, and we both went inside.
waiting for a gust of wind
nowhere to be
I had just met my wife, and I was in love. We went to her parents for the night, up in the back of the Sandia mountains. It was my first time being there with her, being up in the mountains. They had a large dirt driveway, and we were both standing there, looking towards the mountain at the stars through the trees, being quiet, being in love...
Then out of nowhere, a few coyotes started calling off in the distance. It started slow in front of us, maybe almost a mile away. Their voices were not the voices of wolves, but of spirits, the high-pitched voices of ghost dogs calling to the night. As their calls started to fade, they were joined by a chain of coyotes in the distance, their calls encircling us, coming first from ahead, then to the side, and finally behind us. It was an amazing feeling to be encircled by their calling, as if they wanted us to know they were there.
That was the first time I had ever heard coyotes, and I have never forgotten it.
circle of voices
the Great Coyote
arranges to meet me