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Dedicated to My Mother

It was Easter Sunday.
No family around to celebrate
The rising of Christ from the dead.

No eggs planted anywhere.
My breakfast French toast was dipped in eggs though,
Drenched in syrup, where berries and cinnamon also floated.

The dishes were washed.
The reading of the news was done.
I was sufficiently terrorized,
Thrust into hopelessness and gloom.

Some say we will survive.
Others say nay.
I have no reason to believe in anything but myself.
So much trauma in my own life caused by those
Who were meant to love me unconditionally.
As parents, as lovers, as friends, as a husband.

I was alone.
And intent on finding another place
To merge with the natural world.

Down the state highway going south
Is the entrance to a road that parallels
The river I visit on Sundays.
I have never been down this road.
It was a good day to give it a try.

Discovering this path by the river
For the first time on foot, I was eager
To see where it took me.
I parked where a closed gate blocked going any further by car.
I parked beside a truck bearing New Hampshire license plates.
A sign on the gate said FLOOD.

I walked past the gate.
The road descended gradually.
The river was on the left of the road.
The river was full and rollicking over rocks.
Eventually, the rushing river disappeared from view
And changed into a stream.

I passed two couples and one dog from New Hampshire,
Going in the other direction.
I wished them Happy Easter.

I passed a crevice on my right side, the side of the main road above,
Carved out by a temporary charge of water in the past rainstorms.
Grasses lay across the road in the direction in which the water had taken them.

The stream flowed into a flood plain.

When I reached the open flood plain,
My body was seized with an anxiety
I have not felt since I was a toddler.

I stopped walking.

I stood looking out
Over acres and acres of  three foot long grasses
Laid flat by water.

In the distance was a short cement bridge.
Do I walk that far? I said to myself.

It was not raining.

My steps carried me several hundred yards
To the bridge.
The bridge passed over the stream that was the river.

I was standing in a flood plain bordered by a dam wall.

I turned around 360 degrees.

No birds were singing.
Nor could I see any flying.
No sound.
Not even from the flow of the water.
I could not detect the breeze.

The water had receded from its flood stages.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been standing there.
On the bridge.

This is how the end of the world is going to look,
I thought.

The clouded gray sky foretelling of more rain
Provided a cyclorama against which the silhouettes of the trees
Atop the hills, which cupped the valley, grew.

I took pictures.

I sought out where the road would lead
If I were to continue walking.
The road disappeared around a hill.

Because I had hurt my knee,
And I would have worsened how hurt it was,
I decided against continuing.

Besides, the drops of a drizzle began
To hit my cheeks.

I turned and started to retrace my steps
Back to the entrance
Where my car was parked.

Experiencing this place measured an inkling
Of acceptance of imminent death.

My death.
The death of the earth.
The death of all.
The irrevocable final transformation of all.

In five billion years,
The sun explodes.

I have known that the sun will explode
For my entire adult life.

I saw moments before the end time
In that flood plain. On Easter Sunday.

Scientists say that the sun will explode in five billion years
From the time they declared it.
From now.
Less, of course, the number of years I will have lived.

Copyright 2019 Lyn Horton


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