|Oak Tree and Valley Fog, Tehachapi Mountains, California, 1989|
Photograph by Gordon Osmundson, 1999
But know I've found, with thanks to you,
I'm stronger than I ever knew."
Something about this card made folks who don't know one another think of me. That's flattering and inspiring. I guess I'm the busted up tree. Cancer is the wind, that's for sure. And what about those roots? What's holding me into the soil of life when the whole world seems in the process of blowing away?
My friends, for one. People who drop by, or just drop a note. Voice mail messages and lovely little Halmark cards. My friends give me a reason to want to get out of bed.
My family. Mum and my sisters. My brothers in law. All the people, blood kin, love kin, and kinda kin who have known me for years and can put me in context the way no one else can.
My wife. She is my tap root, my touch stone, and my heart. Tear my trunk up out of the ground and throw me in the chipper, my deepest last fiber will still be wrapped up around the beautiful Mrs P.
And beyond even that, beyond the place where there are any roots at all, below where the earth itself bears the faintest footprint of my passing, there is God. Whom I knew in my mother's womb. Whose prayers I learned kneeling beside my grandfather. Whom I have blessed and cursed and loved and hated and blamed and thanked for every damn thing that has ever happened to me in my whole life. God may make me crazy, but God will never let me go.
Thanks for the reminder, y'all. There are parts of Pennsy not even cancer can blow away.