Thursday, October 2, 2014

How Can You Leave Me? I Love You Too Much

"TAKE THAT BACK!"  I screamed to myself but it was too late to recant.  What was said, was said.  What's done is done.  I knew how much the words had hurt.  Why did I say them?  Why hadn't I bit my tongue?

It was autumn, my favorite time of year.  I don't appreciate the heat of summer so taking long hikes were reserved for summer's end.  My closest friend and I would often make a day of it.  I would pack a lunch and we would head up the mountain.  We were both a bit too old to walk that far, but would drive as far as we safely could and then hike a bit farther.

We had a favorite spot.  It was positively dreamy.  We rarely saw another human but the wildlife was what we always anxiously anticipated.  It wasn't unusual to see a small herd of elk grazing on the mountain's edge.  Our special spot was next to a fast flowing creek with a number of small waterfalls. The noise of the rushing water muffled any sounds we made which made it easy to observe the wildlife unnoticed.

My friend was more keenly aware of her surroundings than I was, with a sharper sense of smell and sight.  When I realized she had become silent and very still, I knew there was an animal lurking close by. On several occasions we saw bear.  I wasn't too concerned unless we saw the cubs first and knew that Mama Bear would be watching us.  It would be best to ignore them.

Squirrels ran around our blanket on the ground and I wondered if they remembered that we always brought nuts and seeds for their pleasure.  Watching those little guys work so fast at opening a sunflower shell was sheer delight.

I loved soaking up that autumn sun.  It was so warm even though the air had a definite nip to it.  I braided the longest blades of grass I could find, bringing back many childhood memories of making necklaces for my mother.

I watched the water flowing over the rocks and wondered how long it would take to get to the sea. The Pacific Ocean was only a couple miles away and I recalled being here with my young children when the salmon would be fighting to get upstream.  More memories of days gone by were mixed with sad thoughts, knowing those days were gone forever.  I couldn't wait until my grand children were old enough to take this hike with me to make new memories.

The light of day was swiftly passing and I knew we should head back soon.  I appreciated the special friendship we had and then it occurred to me.  I looked at her gray hair and noticed that her eyes were clouded heavily.  Hiking up the hill wasn't as easy as it used to be.  I knew her hips were hurting her but she never complained.  A chill came over me.  My eyes started to well up with tears and then I said it....out loud, without taking any thought for her feelings.

"I don't know if you realize it, but this will probably be your last time here."  The full sentence wasn't even out of my mouth when I saw her demeanor drastically change.  She sensed my sadness and began to quiver.  I wrapped my arms around her furry neck and held her close.  I wasn't ready to let her go.  She wasn't ready either and my words broke her heart.

Tears flowed easy now.  I couldn't let go.  Not yet.  We had been best friends for fourteen years.  She traveled with me, slept with me and we spent every possible moment together.  How could I have been so thoughtless to say that to her?  But her nature was to forgive quickly and forget just as fast.


I packed up our belongings and we slowly walked back to the truck in silence.  She stayed close to my side.  I knew I had been right.  This would be our last trip here together.  But I will never speak of it again. 


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