Cliff Gilker Ladies

Yesterday was Mother's Day and on our walk through the forest and falls in Cliff Gilker Park we met two remarkable mothers. Both were almost 80, both were walking with their best friends, both taught me old lessons over again.

Pancho and i met one lady as we approached the bridge that was destroyed by a tree during the big wing storm about a month ago. Her golden retreiver was cavorting in the pool above the falls. We talked about our best friends and how much they mean to us and how our lives are enriched by the love we share with them. She told me that all of her human friends had questioned her sanity when at age 74 she got this new puppy and she'd likely be near 90 when its time was over and how if she were still able she'd get another dog again immediately. We've both had dogs and cats all our adult lives and agreed that, especially now that our children had left home, we'd chosen to live our lives in a way that many think is silly because of the limitations to travel or other stuff that our dogs create.

i started to laugh then i realized she was crying. She said that the mention of our children and Mother's Day had again started the flow. She told me that just two months ago she'd lost her son to cancer, he was only 50, and the tears came often and without control. They'd been very close she said and that through his long battle she'd raged and pleaded with the dark lord to take her instead. Her obvious good health and the love she shared with her best friend powered them on down the trail. As we parted we waved and smiled to each other as we now will always be connected by our meeting at the pool.

A few minutes later we met the second lady near another bridge and falls lower down beside the same creek. She walked slowly using a stick for balance. We too talked about our dogs but, unlike our earlier meeting, this time it was about their names. She was very bright and well spoken. Her friend was named Paladin and she told me about the Knights of Charlamagne and the mysteries of his court. Just before the bridge the trail quickly-steeply climbs a rock and root encrusted rise. For some reason i jumped up ahead then reached back to lend her a balancing hand up the little hill. She took my hand and i watched as her feet danced up the rocks. She felt so light, she smiled so bright, she thanked me and wished me well.

Oh how i miss my mother every day.