Monday, December 26, 2011

Belonging To Yourself

After a busy Christmas full of gifts and visitors and way too much food LC, Jamie and I took a drive and a short walk on a trail at the base this morning.
As were were walking along the edge of the lake I looked down and saw these two pine cones surrounded by shells and fallen leaves.
I have a small ceramic bowl sitting in the kitchen that is full of these same little spiral shells that I saw lying in the sand this afternoon.
LC and I picked them up off the bottom of a very shallow section of this cove one afternoon while we were kayaking in late Fall about five years ago.
We had begun our kayaking trip at the public beach area about 1/2 mile away, had wandered along the shoreline, crossed the water to check out Bird Island and then paddled back across the lake again to hit this cove before heading back to the beach to retrieve our truck.
It was on that trip that we were slowly cruising the shallow cove in our kayaks, talking and picking up shells and storing them in empty water bottles so that I could take them home to wash them and then keep them.
It was in the cove that we cautiously began talking and then eventually deciding that it was time that we moved in and lived together.
Both of us hopeful but truthfully also scared of what this change in our relationship might bring..................
My Mountain Boy and my sweet dog waited patiently for me, as they so often do, while I walked along the shore remembering and thinking and taking pictures, until I was done.
I walked smilingly towards them and we headed into the pine tree filled trail intending to take a short walk.
Jamie immediately took Point.
She loves to walk trails.
Instantly rushing to the front of the line she always excitedly strides instead of walks, intent on following the trail and leading the way for us.
There were no other people, and on a grey and cool day after Christmas we had the place to ourselves as we happily walked the quiet trail................... 
I have biked close to the paintball area of the base quite a few times but have never really explored that section of the base.
But as we continued on the trail today we eventually found our way to what I knew was a short paved road, that eventually did end at the paintball-place.
LC and James headed up the road and I followed, and as we reached the dirt entrance to the paintball area and saw that it was empty, we headed in realizing that it was a good day to explore what was there.
Bamboo three sided structures, barrels, pallets, tarps - paintball stations were set up in areas all over the woods and I spent some time taking pictures of some of the many structures that were set up for the games...............
A pile of bamboo poles waiting to be set up for more make-shift structures..............
An old concrete column above and a covered picnic area below................
There are small and large concrete structures spread throughout the base (as well as overgrown and old paved roads) that are all remnants of a time when this place was known as Camp Forrest during WWII and when the population expanded to 75,000. 
Many buildings have been torn down and many paved roads have been neglected and closed and overgrown, leaving only multiple decaying remnants of what was once here.................
After leaving the paintball area we all bushwhacked down towards the lake looking for a trail that I knew was there.
LC and I were both surprised when we heard an unexpected noise, looked to our left and saw a colorfully clad, lone mountain biker heading down the trail.
I was even more surprised to realize who the biker was.
He was my old triathlon training partner.
I smiled when I realized who it was.
Still biking.
I had not seen Rick in well over two years.
We recognized each other at about the same time, he stopped and straddled his bike, and we happily caught up with each other briefly before heading in different directions.
One more face.  One more person from my past.
Heading on trail, back towards the truck................
A cross section of a very old, extremely weathered and worn, downed tree that was lying along the shore..............
The world is brown and grey right now and will be for a few months.
And my goal for a while in outdoor picture taking will be to find shots of color.
Berry filled bushes which are frequent sights on the trails.
Fishing bobbers that have been caught in trees and cut off lines by fishermen.  Which are also frequent sights.
And let's see what else I can find.
Regardless, there is real and honest beauty in one lone pine cone still growing on one lone tree.............
My olest son and his wife spent a good part of Christmas Eve into Christmas morning with me, LC and Jamie, before heading to Jessica's parents home to spend the remainder of Christmas Day.
They brought along their little dust mop dogs Ziggy and Gizmo and my spoiled Dog Who Does Not Play Well With Others did not eat the little yappy battery-operated guys who like to climb all over any people in their path, for which I am grateful.
I missed my son so much while LC and I were in Alaska and Wyoming, and truly relished in having him with me during this holiday.
My youngest son Chris called me last night. 
He received the package I sent him and was grateful for warm clothes.
He spent Christmas Day with his step-sister and her husband in Winnipeg, and I am pleased that he had family to spend the day with.
He likes the job at the ski resort but does not like all the drugs that employees apparently dabble in and is already talking about where he will head next after this job is done In March or April.
The question of "where" changes every time I speak with him - the Yukon, Vancouver, back to Winnipeg.
Our time together over the past years have been in such places as Texas, New Jersey, Tennessee, Virginia, Alaska.
Partly because of his military life and partly because of my own professional life.
Me traveling to see him.  Him traveling to see me.
As he walked away from me at the Juneau airport after spending two weeks visiting me and fishing his way from Juneau to Haines and back again in Alaska last Summer, I cried.
Because I did not know where it would be or when it would be that I would see him next...................

Only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself...............Ruth Stout

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