the memory trip   12 comments

Posted at 2:08 am in california,Don,loss,memory,rivers

I’m on my way back to Ontario now. It won’t be long and I’ll be meeting the new-old house in Nova Scotia. However, I’m still a few thousand miles away from that space. I’ve taken a lot of photos, but it will take some time for me to sort through them, so they will keep for awhile. Today’s photos are from different points in time — not from this trip, but from others of the past. Don’s birthday was yesterday – he would now be 58 if he had not died on September 6, 2008.

In a recent post, I mentioned that my autumn 2009 trip ended with a long, strange loop. After running ahead of the bad weather pushing me further and further south to the Mojave, I circled back through the Sierras and ended up on the Oregon-California area of the coast. My purpose in revisiting that location was that I felt compelled to go to some of the places that, for me, have strong associations with Don.

One of my first stops was to see if the giant redwood stump was still lodged in the sand at McVay Beach. Sure enough, it was. It felt odd to see it sitting there, unchanged, roughly three years from the day when I photographed Don sitting on a section of root. How is it possible that a seemingly lifeless stump still persists, while Don is no longer here with me? Since the day that I photographed him at the beach, so much has happened.

The above photo of Don was taken on October 12, 2006 when he came west to travel with me for a week. It gave me such pleasure to take him around to my favourite places such as this shoal on a river in southern Oregon. I photographed him as we talked about the colorful riverstones. The photo of me was taken moments later.

Now he is gone and I am alone. I see these photos from a happier time and realize how much has changed – and how much the experience of the past three years has altered my life, mind, and appearance.

The last pair of photos are perhaps the most important to me. In November, I returned to the secluded river where Don and I watched ouzels singing and diving into the torrent between water-sculpted rock formations. I photographed Don’s hand resting upon the thick moss that carpeted one of the larger formations.

Upon my return, I photographed my own hand on the same little patch of moss. It felt good to place my hand in this spot – almost as though placing my hand on his – with only time between us — and of what importance is time anyhow?

Written by bev on April 6th, 2010