Bittersweet Journey- Part Three

We spent the next few days shopping, eating, talking, and only occasionally being reminded that this is Mom’s last hurrah before a long, hard year. In an incredible show of generosity, my father buys Mom and I the same model digital camera and asks me to teach her how to use it. Dad has done some really nice things for me over the years, but really, I think this is the most meaningful thing he’s done in some time. He knows how much I miss having my own camera. He knows that I can’t spend the money on something that frivolous right now. He knows that my Mom wants one, but is intimidated by the technology. He knows that she and I do so much better when we have a project to work on. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude, both for his gift and his understanding. For getting it.

On Sunday we headed to a state park just a few miles from their house. It’s cloudy and windy, but we’re determined to get out of the house and work with the cameras. On the trail between the lagoon and the beach of the bay, I stop to take some wildflower photos. Mom takes a lesson or two on settings and distance as Dad wanders further down the trail. She gets nervous and leaves me to follow after him. A few minutes later, my father is back. Alone. I ask him where Mom is. He says he didn’t see her. I explain and he panics, setting out to find her. I continue taking pictures, amused by their concern for each other on a two mile loop trail behind a visitor’s center. They come back together, Mom a little sheepishly. We head down the trail together, headed back towards the car.

On the drive back to the house, I’m struck again by the wide view of the horizon, unobstructed by long ridges and high peaks. The fields stretch on for miles, peppered with little white houses and red barns, and the sky is cloudy and gray. There is no hint of blue sky. Nothing but fluffy high cloud cover, in varying shades of gray. I’m reminded of one of my favorite songs.

Don’t give up the fight to stay alive and even if
you have to
Find the reason of anothers pain if they lose you
If not for your self then those around who care
like I do
One day you’ll see the clear blue
Beyond the Gray Sky

I ask my Dad to pull into a small gravel driveway between the corn and the soybeans. I snap pictures, moving back and forth in front of different parts of the field. I change settings on the camera, take more pictures, kneel down in the grass, take more pictures. Still on my knees, I put my camera back in it’s case, and with my head still bent, I wipe the tears from my cheeks and the edges of my eyes. The wind dries my face and whips my hair as I walk back to the car and get in the backseat.

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