STOKES FOREST JOURNAL: EXCERPT #3

Note to reader: Some of us who live with a brain injury are sound sensitive. I am. And when I am tired, my sound sensitivity increases. This should explain the first sentence in this journal excerpt.

Sept. 29 – 10:24 p.m.

There is a cricket right by the window making so much noise I’d like to blow his fucking head off.

Midnight

I started to go to sleep and then I heard branches breaking outside and grew suspicious and frightened. Everything is okay.

It dawned on me earlier this evening that other than hotels, where I am surrounded by people, this is the first time I have spent the night completely alone (since I was shot). Always, if not people, my dogs (have been with me). It makes sense that this night would be in a place powerfully linked to my father. Once again he is helping me reach a summit. In a very real way he is giving me a present for my 55th birthday.

Sept. 30, 2008 1:05 a.m.

Having a hard time sleeping. Now there’s a surprise. It’s cool enough to start a fire now but I don’t think I will. I think there is a cricket in the cabin and if I had a shotgun I’d point it in the direction of the sound and fire away. Leave it to me to get pissed off at a cricket.

7:33 a.m.

The lake is covered by a mist and again my Dad’s “voice” helped me. I wanted to listen to Imus a bit to see what was on the news and hear some humor but of course I got on my back (thinking), Silent retreat, Peter. Silent retreat, you must go through with this. Then, my Dad saying, Pete, listen to the news. Do what you want. Listen to Imus. It’s okay.

There are beautiful sounds outside as the world continues to wake up. I am living in a fairy tale.

Oct. 1, 2008 6:55 p.m.

And so here we are, Dad. The home stretch (to my 55th birthday on October 2). In a way it is like waiting for a child to be born. He is due just past midnight. He’ll be a burly little fellow, delightfully animated, and filled with an ample supply of piss and vinegar. He’s gonna need it. We will be his guardian angels you and I. His guardian angels. I will watch out for him from here, you’ll watch out for him from there.

I love you Dad with so much of my heart you are my heart. Maybe it is this very heart that will be freedom born just past midnight. This time he will enter world a mighty heart. He will be seasoned, finely tuned, prescient, and keep of his own blood flow. We will watch him carefully as we loose him on the world. He will not have as much time as you and I had at 55 – but perhaps between us we can guard his freedom to be. If he can be the mighty heart he is, it will be redemption for the two of us. Then, finally, we can rest in peace knowing we have squared the deal.

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