Morning errands seem never-ending. Today, we went towards Bryson City instead of Sylva. We stopped at the coffee shop to ask if Bryson City has a pet store. Of course, I stopped in the coffee shop to ask. I could search GPS, but people have better answers about local places. Besides, I am still training Birdie about being a polite canine in public places. I’ve discovered she REALLY likes people. There were no qualms about tying her to a tree on the porch while I asked for directions and a coffee. She wouldn’t try to escape. I wasn’t in the shop long before she started barking. The bark was the one that meant, “Why aren’t those people petting me?” The bark is happy but shrill. It’s just one decibel lower than the scream bark which is her Squirrel bark.
I go outside to keep her quiet. One of the employees is talking to her trying to assure her. I apologize to her and the one waiting on me. The girl says there are children that make more noise than any dogs. I get that. Oh, and I neglected to mention, there is also a train across the street. A bell clangs and a steam engine hisses to remind me. When I stoop to get Birdie’s leash, I see what appears to be a shiny rhinestone or crystal near the leash. Like a crow enthralled with shiny objects I reach to pick it up.
It melts on my fingertips because it was a drop of pine sap rather than something solid. I’m disgusted by the feel of the slimy sap and annoyed because I know pine sap can stay on one’s skin for days. Then, as I try to rub the sap off of my fingers, there’s the wonderful smell of pine. The sap comes off easier and I see that the tree itself is a different species of tree, though I can’t identify it.
A nice tourist comes up and pets Birdie. I watch the other tourists looking at the train and taking pictures. Several squeaky cars drive by because the coffee shop, Mountain Perks, is near the stop light. A service dog comes by and Birdie is offended that he didn’t even see her. She doesn’t understand that the german shepherd is working. At least she doesn’t bark at it. Birdie does turn to me with a questioning look. A woman in the group smiles at Birdie as though she understands the small dog’s confusion.
There’s not particular reason for this writing. It is merely a beautiful day in the mountains where pine sap becomes diamond and the light coming through the forest dances. People smile at each other. A train conductor waves to a woman walking across the tracks with a yellow Dollar General bag in hand. A car drives by and someone is laughing. It’s a good day to be alive.
May is here. 2017 has been a ride I did not want to be truthful. Politics aside, this year so far has been one of sadness and loss. Dear friends have died. We lost another pet. Then, my wife asked for separation. We are still talking and love each other. Life is hard. Nobody ever said it would be easy.
There have been blessings still. Spirit of the Mountain Lodge is where I’m living while regrouping. My friend calls it my own little slice of heaven. It does feel heavenly here as far as the view goes. Birdie, my feist mix is adjusting and likes to hike.
Writing was set aside in order to move and grieve, grieve and move. While both are still in progress, I’m pleased that more writing is happening. Working in collaboration with the graphic artist Kandis Glasglow, there will be a new edition of my memoir being released soon. Her work on my cover has been priceless to me. Hope you will check out her Mandela Coloring book if you like to color. Also in progress is the release of my debut novel.
Because my works of non-fiction are so different, my fiction will be published under the pseudonym, JRobi Frank. Life is a challenge, but I’m not giving up. Hope you hold on to your dreams too, Robin
Missing links is not a blog post about evolution. Um…nor is it a political post (though many of us might wonder at the missing links in the politician’s evolutionary chain). As I update my website I know that there may be some missing links here. As I was making changes, it reminds me of how easy it is to disconnect accidentally from the ones we love too.
We forget to phone as often to our loved one. Or we spend too much time on the laptop, iPad, or other gadgets that can draw us away from the beloved. Perhaps we are trying to protect one another from hard things. It could be we are just tired. Perhaps we are afraid to make the other person angry or perhaps the other person is often angry. Sometimes we merely don’t know how to talk to each other or where to begin.
The truth is, communication is hard. Being human is hard. Trying to maintain connections when one’s life feels frazzled seems impossible. Humans were not meant to exist in a vacuum…or on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the ability to see long-lost friends on Facebook. I appreciate vacuums…especially when someone else vacuums regularly (though I don’t mind really). Even more so however, I appreciate my loved ones. My wife is a treasure. My church community vital. Family and friends make the circle whole.
One of the things I hope to do as I go through this website redesign is remember to check all my links. Is there a link in my life that I have neglected, or overlooked. I am going to check in with some friends and family to make sure there’s no oversight there either. It’s a process. Building a website is a continual process of checking to make things work. Why would we not do the same with the valued relationships in our lives?