Ice out?
April 26, 2018
Forget the Fiddleheads!
May 21, 2018
Show all

The adventure isn’t always pretty or fun

Mom’s Dying (January 25th 2018)

I’m down in the swamp snapping photos of iced over berry
because I can’t stand to be in there
at the keyboard and monitor any longer.
I didn’t know I'd feel so lonely at this job
the loner
cutting out of the office at 3
craving work-buddy happy-hour
someone to talk shop and life with over drinks.
I am working a job I’ve had to learn alone
in an office without co-workers.
I am yearning for professional connection
a friend I can respect, a friend I can trust
but I am alone in this so
I’m down in the swamp snapping photos of iced over berry
because I can’t stand to be in there
at the keyboard and monitor any longer

and mom’s dying...

the limbs of the trees stiff and magnified
sheathed under jeweled sun sparkled ice
the crusted snow’s crunch under my boot
the clatter of ice on limbs high in wind

I’m down in the swamp snapping photos of iced over berry
because winter’s become my balm, outdoors my solace
and I strangely find myself needing to be out there
even at -5 Fahrenheit
the loner
snowshoe shuffling frozen swamp woods and field
spying wintering robin swamp holdover
fox-deer-turkey-squirrel-rabbit track
seeking nothing, leaving everything
muttering mantras
the quality of your breath is the quality of your life
breathe deep

I’m down in the swamp snapping photos of iced over berry
because I can’t stand to be in there
at the keyboard and monitor any longer

and mom’s dying...

The adventure isn’t always pretty or fun.

It’s been hard for me to come here and write from the get go. Perhaps I’ve needed a mission statement to keep me in line and engaged.

What I really mean to say is that my Mom died two and a half months ago. Truth be told she’d been dying for the past three and a half years (whether we wanted to believe it or not). Here now in the aftermath I’m still struggling with my grief.

I have wanted to tell a story but for too long now I have struggled with this story. It eludes me like a slippery brook trout keen to my lure, refusing to latch on and be reeled in.

In some ways I believe mom’s death makes it seem to me that I’ve been knocked off kilter, inching towards the edge of despair so to speak, yet I know this is overall untrue. In truth, though still fully feeling my grief I’ve been awakened by this terrible experience.

I remember my mom alive and happy. I remember a mother that worked hard to help provide for her family and her future. I remember a mother who had plans to do things and go places with her husband in her retirement. I remember a mother that fell ill as soon as she retired. A mother who never got to do all those things in retirement that she’d worked so hard her whole life to do. It killed me inside to watch cancer eat away at her. It killed me inside to watch chemotherapy eat at her even further. Maybe we can fight but sometimes the fight can kill us too. And who knows when or if we’re going to be called upon to fight in the first place? Can I say that my sister Bobbie who was struck down in a freak surprise by an unknown tumor at the age of 38 got that call to arms? No I cannot. The truth is that you never know when your time is gonna come. And even if you make it to retirement in supposed decent health and can finally breathe a sigh of relief for all of the hard work you suffered there is still no guarantee of reward.

What I really want to say is that I have been unhappy. Truth be told it’s a measure too much for a 47 year old man. In reality unhappiness is a measure too much for anyone. The only way to bust through it is to stop doing whatever it is that makes you unhappy. I know, it sounds so simple doesn’t it? Yes, and do more of what does make you happy. Yes again, seems so simple for RiverDevin. To the woods, the rivers, the streams…

RiverDevin actually always has had a mission statement of a sort. It’s in there on my home page if you look for it. I know what the mission is. I know what I’m supposed to be doing with all this grief now.

Well, it’s not easy, but I have determined after Bobbie and after my mom that it is necessary to seek your happiness. It is necessary in the here and now. It is crucial in the here and now. I’ll be leaving my job at Encircle Publications at the end of May. With a month long severance package I’ll be taking a class during UMF’s nature semester in June studying the Maine Watershed with particular focus on the Androscoggin and Kennebec Rivers from their source in the mountains all the way to the Gulf of Maine.

I am on a mission to find my happy path. I have been dreaming about this path for far too long. I’ll be spending more time with RiverDevin now. I’ve got several writing projects incubating and plenty of adventures planned that I’m more determined now than ever to share here.

I love the wild nature of Maine and I love the things that are going on here in terms of preserving and restoring that wild nature. I play in and I write about all of this beautiful wildness around me. I want to do more of that. I want to make work out of it. My life should be spent outdoors working with the things I love and writing about the state I love. I hope to have readers here following my journey and spreading the word. I’ll meet you down on the riverbank.