Author’s note: This is a piece I wrote five years ago. I made several weak attempts at getting it published—all unsuccessful. Now, I’ve decided to post it in eight short chapters on my blog. All names have been changed along with some details. Since I wrote this, my beloved dog, Baxter, has died, I’ve gained weight, again, and have three novels published and two more in the works. Like the river, life goes on and is usually wonderful! Enjoy and feel free to give me feedback. Bill Mathis
The River Path – Chapter 1
The river flows by, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, through lakes, over dams, shallow, deep, around rocks and logjams, oozing mud. It threatens, at times destroys, yet in the end always nourishes, always sustains. Just like life.
The dam roars softly in the background while songs of finches, robins and orioles sound from the trees and bushes along the river below. A goldfinch flits around the shrubs and day lilies. A mourning dove observes me from the neighbor’s railing. Flowers—petunias, geraniums and marigolds—explode from their pots, interspersed with crocks shimmering of rosemary and bright basil, while hints of mint tickle the air. This on the balcony where I sit. The river and path part of my life, the life I walk every morning and evening.
Ostensibly, I go out to walk my dog, Baxter, to get some exercise, which is true. In reality, I’m wandering through my life. Past, present and future. Wondering about the lives of the people I meet, pass by, or chat with, sometimes in real life, sometimes in my imagination. Pondering their lives. Pondering my own.
I’m amazed at my journey, my path, the river which led me to this balcony: two rewarding careers, one in YMCA camping, the next in foster care; two marriages, with two daughters, a step-daughter and three grandchildren; finally recognizing and accepting I was gay; coming out; feeling whole for the first time in my life; meeting Andrew and moving in with him. What a ride. What a life!
Regrets? Yes, I’ve had a few, as Frank Sinatra sang, but I can’t travel forward looking backward. They will always be back there, part of my life, who I was, who I am, shaping who I will be.
Watch for Chapter 2 next week! Feel free to email me with comments: firstname.lastname@example.org