Heading up north closely following the Deschutes,
we’re going out for a trek on a warm winter day,
out with my nephews and sons;
our lunches are safely stowed away. Driving towards Smith Rock—
if only you could see it glimmering against the back-drop
of fresh air and Oregon western blue skies.
My brother-in-law racked with pain, cancer eating him away,
bedridden on his front-room couch,
yells at us to—“climb away, but watch out for the snakes”
his eyes wishing he could go, if only once more.
Every-time you climb a mountain,
you follow in the footsteps of great men,
those who ascended—making their aliyah, and
leaving the corrupt world behind.
I told the boys—“I’m getting older”,
don’t you dare leave me behind,
wait up for your uncle, I’m the one with the struggle
and its not just about climbing towards the pinnacle this time;
but of seeing my dearest brother slowly wasting away—
Finally, we reach the summit, I want to let out a scream.
Instead, I just sit and stare at the boys youthful-gait as
they climb around and around, exuberant, vigorous,
fired up and aglow;
forgetting for an instant that their father’s moments
are slowly ticking away.
And against this extravagant landscape,
so clean—an Oregon still pristine,
with a vantage point of heavens front door,
a sacred place where eagles make their craggy nests,
I let out my scream:
Daniel, I wish you be here with me and the boys!