my first poem ever

I want to be your comfy chair

I want to comfort you, and support you

I want you to look forward to coming home and relaxing into me

I’ll wrap my arms around you and make you feel safe

I’ll have your back

You can let go

Relax

And just

Breathe

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Old Man of the Mountain

Old Man of the Mountain

 

It seems like it happened so long ago already.

If any of you are fortunate enough to have traveled through Franconia Notch New Hampshire before May 3 2003, you would have seen quite a sight.

As you rounded a bend on Rt. 93, you would have seen the Old Man of the Mountain.

He was the Great Stone Face,… in profile,… jutting out from the cliff at the top of Cannon Mountain.

His chiseled Granite features represented Strength, Endurance, and Serenity.

He was a fitting symbol for a state whose motto is “Live Free or Die”.

But on May 3, 2003, He Died a terrible death.

He fell from the mountain.

The park rangers who found the remains in the debris field that morning described it as a terrible mess.

He was gone.

They said that they kept looking back up there, expecting to see him as they always had, but he was gone.

As with people, even the granite tough Old Man was wearing down with age.

The harsh New Hampshire winters had been taking their toll.

There had been ongoing efforts by the best stone surgeons in the country to extend and preserve his life, and those efforts surely did work, but as with all things, it seemed that his time had come.

 

My wife grew up in the shadow of the Old Man.  When she heard the news, and saw the pictures on TV, it was a very emotional time for her.

She remembered her dad taking her up there to see him when she was young.  She told me stories about when she was In High School, doing certain things in cars, late at night, in the parking lot under the watchful eye of the Old Man.

It was a good thing he couldn’t talk!

Now I do stained glass from time to time, so I had this idea.  I got a picture of the Old Man, borrowed an overhead projector from my son’s elementary school, taped a big sheet of paper on the dining room wall, made a stained-glass pattern.  His likeness now sits in a high window, his profile jutting out from the wall, just like he jutted out from that wall of granite in Franconia Notch.   It came out well.  Full of color and nuance in the light, casting a shadowy profile against a dark blue sky and the stars at night.

It was just shortly after his likeness was completed and hung in that high window, that we took a long-planned trip to the South Pacific.  French Polynesia.  Island hopping on a 50 ft Catamaran in paradise.  Scuba diving in remote areas.  It was surreal.

It’s a bit of a different world under water.

The wildlife is different.  The forests are different.

But… there are still Mountains and Valleys just like on land.

The islands in the South Pacific were formed by ancient volcanoes that collapsed and formed lagoons. A protective ring of Reefs teaming with animal and plant life, divide the shallow protected waters of a lagoon, from the deep deep waters surrounding it.

There is usually at least one deep channel, or  “Valley”, where boats and water can flow in and out from the deep of the ocean, to the shallows of the lagoon.

We were Diving one of those valleys one day, when I rounded a corner, and there I saw him.

It was definitely him. I had just done a stained-glass likeness of him.  I knew every chiseled feature of his face.  It was him all right!

And he was smiling.

(I think he may have been eating some sushi)

As he was in New Hampshire, he was off in the distance a bit, in perfect profile, perched on the edge of a high cliff.  Or in the underwater world, the edge of a deep blue abyss.

I hung there for a while, just staring at him.

Until, that is, I was startled back to focusing right in front of me by a moray eel, damn near as big as I was, who was taking a particular interest in me.  I swam away, and he head back to his coral maze.

When I turned back around to check out the Old Man one more time, he was gone.

Now, I have no answers as to HOW he got there, and I can’t even tell you Exactly WHERE I saw him.  Besides, he has proven that he is able to move around now like the Stone Giants from the Misty Mountains in Lord of the Rings.

So, who knows, maybe he is just traveling in retirement.

Maybe he hooked up with a Woman of the Mountain and maybe they have Pebbles now, or even Grand Pebbles on the way?

The point is, that he hadn’t died.  He just retired to the South Pacific!

And he looked happy.