Recollecting the Past………….

It was a warm, slightly humid night this evening. We sat on the deck gazing East toward the mountains. The clouds were pushing upward and then spilling over into majestic shapes. In the distance, we heard thunder. My father-in-law shook his head, as he often does. It is a prelude to the common themes we share these days. The memory, in the present, falters now. The past memories, recited often, are clearer and bring to mind his struggles as a young man, husband, father, farmer in the Dakotas.


He hasn’t farmed in over forty some years. The weather, destroyed crops, fading health and the clarity of the hard future ahead caused him to move the family and contents West to Oregon. Although he never farmed again, his upbringing and young adult life leave little doubt he somehow is still a farmer. He can describe in vivid detail the life, the hardships, the failures from fifty years ago. He can’t recall having given this same story ten minutes ago. No matter. It’s the way of things. You roll with it, staring up at the clouds, thankful the mosquitos are at bay tonight. 

sky-pink clouds-Summer-photography-SwittersB

He looks tired tonight, disheveled. His pants have that faint coating of sawdust from the shop. The belts askew, the shirt partially untucked. His hands, the gnarled, strong hands have never stopped working. He points a crooked finger toward the clearing sky and remarks on the color of the clouds and the threat of something passing. He asks if he has ever told me about why he left the farm? No, I say, what happened? 

I am melancholy in listening. This is a fading life style, a tired man. I want to hear it over and over, while I can. My heart wrenches, I catch my breath and refocus on his words. Every single word.

14 Responses to “Recollecting the Past………….”

  1. August 2, 2014 at 13:16

    Beautiful! This happened to me with my Pa. He told the same stories over and over and I memorized them. Then came the day when he forgot them and I told them back to him. There’s a reason for the repetition so they don’t forget and so you don’t forget. So you can tell it back to him when he forgets. I know all my Pa’s hunting stories and fishing stories nobody seems to want to know them but I do and I’m thankful I took the time to listen because now those stories are alive in me and I tell them to my nephew Ezra. He loves to hear about Pa. So I can imagine you will have few stories to tell yourself. Blessings to you sweet friend! I’ve been catching up on your blog! 😀 it’s beautiful!


  2. August 1, 2014 at 21:52

    I have no words – just pure emotion.


  3. August 1, 2014 at 07:15

    You exhibit compassion,, touch him with heart felt empathy

    Ur dad intuitively taught you well


  4. August 1, 2014 at 05:12

    You have captured beautifully the fading light in this precious moment.


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