Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Memories of Skiing With My Dad

My memory is not very good. I have a friend who seems to have a photographic recall of every event in her life. Not me. I have fuzzy images, just ideas of what I think everything looked like and how it felt. My childhood is now mostly a shadow. Moments that mattered and lessons that I learned are part of a history I can't retrieve.

It was 32 years ago today that my dad passed away. I was not even 30 at the time. I feel his loss acutely and it frustrates me that everything we shared seems to be disappearing from sight. I fear that one day soon all I recall about him will be manufactured, a reconstruction to match sentiment to fact.

I only went skiing once with my Dad. We were on a family vacation to the Pocono mountains. In the universe I imagine, there was but one rope tow for the use of the guests of the hotel. It was a cold day and my mother and sister watched the unfolding events from the warmth of the lodge. I had no idea of what I was supposed to be doing, and my Dad could be of little assistance. He walked with me as I tried to make my way down the slope, offering gentle encouragement. He picked me up and brushed me off as I fell repeatedly. And when I reached the bottom of the hill, we walked back up to the top and began our adventure again.

Is love as real if it is unattached to a touch, or a sound, or a smell? Will I soon lose everything but the memory of my love for my Dad? Will my love for him eventually be, like my adventure on that hill, just a story?

I hope not. I hope that what I feel does not need to be grounded in time and place, but that love lives in a world unto itself, as its own reality. I hope that if everything else should abandon me, that what my heart holds will remain immutably intact.  But most of all,  I hope that my Dad really did walk back up the hill with me that day in the Pocono Mountains, brushing the snow off my sleeves and telling me everything would be just fine. And that I believed him.


Anonymous said...

to me
Robert, I am in tears. Just perfect and beautiful. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

A lovely piece. Brought tears to my eyes.