Mountain Fern Road

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While on the deck writing, I look over at a small orange sliding board in the backyard.  It has been sitting in that same spot for at least fifteen years; yet, I can still see my daughter going down the slide, wearing her purple coat and purple, pink, and lavender hat, ears covered.  She is about four.  Her brother stands beside her, cracking jokes.  He is about eight, thin, and always smiling.  She is mostly serious, even as she slides.  However, there are many times he makes her laugh harder than anyone else in the world.

I look over at the snowmobile.  I see my son, wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and sandals.  He lifts the snowmobile’s cover and reaches his hand inside.  A swarm of bees fly out. He yells.  One got him on his ankle.  My husband takes the stinger out.  Then, I stare at the four-wheeler, wrapped in blue tarp.   I see my son walking up the red stoned driveway, helmet in hand.    He accidentally ran the four-wheeler off the road into the bushes, showing off for a couple boys his age.

My eyes avert to the rock pit.  Wild colors dance through the darkness as marshmallows roast at the end of long sticks, our brown faces aglow with delight.  Char and goo stick to our tongues and lips. Snakes slither from the pit of warm rocks.  No one is afraid. The night is too perfect.

I stop writing.  I walk back in the house.  It is quiet.  Our children are grown.  My husband and I come up alone now.  We browse antique shops that hold small and large items of history.  We examine unique treasures like zithers, Roseville pottery, vintage watches, and signed photos of living and deceased stars.  I purchase a signed photo of Debbie Allen and a book of poems by Helen Steiner Rice.  We dine at our favorite restaurant and enjoy the foods our grown children tell us we should not eat.

In spring and summer, we walk by the lake and take pictures. Butterflies are shy and fireflies pose in flight. In fall, we bear watch as they roam down the side of a wooded road.  In winter, we talk and play cards by the fire, remembering and forgetting shared and unshared moments our lives.  We swap secrets like candy as snow piles up outside for hours.  But we do not worry.  We do not regret.  The night is still perfect.

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