It was a long cold night, the horse were hitched to the wagon, with hay covering every inch and bales placed for sitting, leaning, or nestling into. 2 old kerosene lanterns lit the front of the wagon, the steady clip-clop of the team on the trail, the creaking of the harnesses, along with the flickering lights dancing with the shadows of the trees created a black and white portrait in the mind. The trail followed the river and rounding a bend, we could hear the thundering accolades of the rapids below us as the owl hooted off in the shadows.
Many years later, I found myself a single father to my 3 sons, having just been told that a marriage, being a mother, wife, and helpmate was now ending. It was time to move on. She needed a life of her own, and that meant she no longer desired a family, kids or a marriage. She needed a change, to see what she was missing, and so she left. The boys were 7, 5 and 1 year old. One life ended and another life arose from those ashes, much like the legendary Phoenix. It was a learning curve that taught me patience, and anything is possible, just take one step at a time. I wondered then how we would make it thru those days, but looking back over the years, one can see how the little moments were what kept us going; It was the neighbor that helped, the friend that listened, and the learning how to be a dad and mom without any prior experience of being a main provider, and nurturing of little children. Of successfully pinning a diaper without pinning myself or my son. The boys softened me, taught me to love, give, and give some more. They taught me to listen and be in the moment. They were great teachers, and I like to think I left a mark on the next generation also.
Now, the next generation is raising their children and families, and at times they feel the struggle of being parents, just like every generation of parents do. But one thing I have noticed, my 3 sons really know how to be involved in their children’s lives. They do not take back seats, but are right in their with mom, doing what it takes to ready the next generation for their roles. I am proud of each of them.
Funny, I remember being listener then, and now find myself spouting opinions, advice to anyone who will or may not have a choice in listening, and every once in a while being closed minded in my open mindedness. I need to remember the past, and listen more, more to the subtle sounds of life, the dancing water at the falls, and the voice of the distance trees and sounds of the silence long past saying shhhhhh – listen and you will hear.