Note to the reader: I celebrated my 55th birthday this October 2 in a cabin in New Jersey’s Stokes State Forest. My father and I went there when I was a boy. I arrived on September 29. His 55th birthday was his last birthday, so it seemed fitting that I spend mine in a place where he and I shared precious time. I will put some excerpts of my journal writing here in the blog. Before I end this note to you, let me say one more thing. If you love someone, don’t forget to tell them. And, if you love someone and find yourself afraid, don’t let the fear scare you. Love them anyway.
Sept. 29 – 5:24 p.m.
In cabin 6 at Stokes.
I am arrived. The cabin is small and beautiful….As I unpacked the car I had several bursts of handclapping. I was overwhelmed with joy – and proud. As I settled in, I realized that coming to a place like this is something my mother never would have done. This tells me very clearly that there was a part of my father she was unable to know. Very likely several parts.
As any reasonable reader might guess, you can’t come on a trip like this without forgetting something. I forgot a pillow and I could care less. It is the quiet I want to encounter, the quiet I want to learn from. It’s interesting how my instinct is to run from it, drown it out if you will. But if I do that, I am, in a very real way, running from the relationship the real me has with the world as it was intended. If there is a God, I doubt very much he intended us to develop television and video games so that we might more thoroughly fulfill his hopes for us, that’s for sure.
I am getting glimpses of what I hope for here. Moments ago, I thought of ghosts and if they were real and I hoped beyond measure that my Dad’s ghost would appear. Then, as I entered the main room from the kitchen after having these thoughts, it hit me. I am trying to bring him back. I come here to bring him back. I do not think me silly for this; I think me a son.
There are moments beyond words, beyond the reach of thought. Moments where what to do is to be. I am blessed to have made it to 55. Given the shooting, homelessness and probably more close calls than I realize and remember, I am blessed to be here in Stokes Forest with my father.