Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Springtime with Father

We saddled up before hint of sunrise stretched against
the bitter cold of the California morning. Fog lifted from
the mouths of the horses, the trampled soil, as hard as frost.

With buttoned coats, we rode toward Sonoma, our horses,
breaking through frozen puddles along the trail. It was winter,
but the air was crisp with scents of lupine and sweet clover,
each an exquisite reminder that spring had come to the north.

We headed up to the hills, treated with open splendor: a world
away from the high-strung urban development of San Francisco.
Frost rested across an open field, above us, an unbending sky,
its deep blue warmed by first sun of morning.

Our family took the ride each Sunday, father, simple in dress,
serene in countenance, leading the pack up to where mudducks
and mountain top meet. Later that night we sat dimly, sipping
cocoa on river's edge as father told stories--- we laughed,

unable to see what the future would bring: my father would never
return. I go up the mountain alone now, a pocket full of memoirs,
days when I knew nothing, but what he taught me, days when
I felt alive, as warm and certain as his hands.


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