I’ve written before about believing I would never feel pain again since Chris was lost, and of course how that is not true, though I don’t know I’ll ever feel that intensity of pain again. I also thought I would never see anything as being beautiful again.
I also wrote about biking as a metaphor even though I’m not really one for metaphor. Metaphors in writing were really more Chris’s thing as you can see if you’ve read any of his poetry. And to be honest, of the three of us, Austin is probably most adept at using metaphor in his writing. I’m hoping at some point he will finish some of his writing so you can see the beauty and depth there.
So as I write this post tonight, I find it ironic that two of the discoveries I made on our trek through Canada and the northern US were that I can still see beauty. But I see it through a hazy filter, just as so many of our pictures are truly beautiful, but many of them beg you to imagine the beauty through the smoke of the vast forest fires.
One of the reasons we chose the route we did in this trip was so that we could go through Glacier because this was probably Chris’s favorite place. He talked about going to live in Montana someday.
Chris took some pictures while he was there, but I only saw a few. The rest were lost in his phone when it, too, was lost in the river. And he wrote journal entries about his hikes since he was leading a group.
So Austin and I had picked out a couple of hikes we wanted to do. One was even ranger led so we thought that would be good since we’re novices. We even bought bear spray. But one trail was closed because of the smoke and the other because a fire was too nearby.
So we were in some of the same places Chris was last year, but not quite. The haze and fire obscured our vision and made us take some detours or not even go to the same places as we has planned.
But isn’t that how life is? We can’t go back. We can’t truly retrace footsteps. We can go close. We can feel their presence maybe sometimes. And we can hold them in our memories.
We did visit the entrance to the Avalanche Trail. Chris would have walked through this Old Growth Forest.
He wrote a set of poems wth that name long before he visited Glacier. I’m hoping to publish this as a short story journal or devotional or something with some of my thoughts to accompany his and with some pictures from some of his friends. And maybe some of their thoughts, too. We’ll see.
But even with all of the caveats, we were blessed by God’s beautiful creation and our time together. We happened upon some of the most spectacular scenery, places I’d never heard of, beauty I’d not experienced.
And even with hitting a dear in Montana, we were able mourn for the lost beauty of the deer who was beside the road because her only food was there because of fires and drought. Austin said part of our car wanted to stay in Montana in memory of Chris.
One more thing about beauty. I was a teen in the 80s when we wore stirrup pants and oversized sweaters with shoulder pads. I really don’t have a terrific self – image.
The night the police came I was actually working out at the gym. I had been there 12 times in both March and April so I could be in better health and get my $20 insurance credit. I was trying to lose weight, too.
Well, I lost about 15 pounds inthe time Chris was lost. And of course, I’d gladly add those pounds back on. But I have decided that I need to see the beauty in my being, too, just as Chris did. I look at myself in the mirror now and I think to myself that this body held my child. He is marked in the stretch marks and the extra rolls around the belly.
I used to ask him sometimes how an outfit looked, and he’d say, “Mom, just wear whatever you wear with confidence and it will look good.”
So I try to wear what I wear with confidence. The shirt I’m wearing in this picture I bought on a reservation in Washington. It’s a hummingbird and a symbol for joy.
I fight seeing beauty, and I don’t feel joyful right now. It took me so long to write this post because I don’t want to see beauty without Chris. But I do trust God sees the beauty in me and allows me to see beauty, too. And in time I will feel joy. Not yet, but someday.