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hey dad, “what” i say as i re-cap the flask and slide it under my leg. “when you were a boy where did all the hawks eat and the raccoons play and the coyotes run? “well shoot, boy. they ate, played and ran in the woods of course” where woods dad? “those woods junior” and point across the highway to a clump of remaining timbers on the soft side of a un-capped mountain. boy i remember when it was different, funny thing that is, remembering what things used to look like. my father used to talk about rivers being so full of fish you could walk across them, in fact, the river under the bridge we’re about to cross used to be a being a world class steelhead run and the cougars and bobcats weren’t so damn shy. “well but that was a million years ago whudnit pops” every generations stories of the woods, rivers and critters continually dwindle to the point of, well no good.
point is its easy to sit in a imaginary truck, sipping imaginary whiskey from my flask (only the good stuff) having a half assed, whole hearted conversation with my imaginary son, goddamn good looking boy he is, looks just like me, but has a full head of hair and whose imaginary backpack isn’t so full of real world bullshit like his old man’s.
well son, hawks just love highway fields, they call ’em mice buffet’s, raccoons are just so goddamn cute they knew they could skim free meals off of chumps, as for coyotes, well they heard about the chicken crossing the road and did their best to track him down. apparently coyotes social networking skills aren’t that great. goddamn coyotes. my heart and brain race through the second turn and head down the strait-away, another lap on this winding, never ending track. the ease of the boy’s simplicity draws wonderful pictures in my mind, i envy him and worry for the loss of his innocence, sooner than later and the inevitable strain that comes from the works of man, the sins of self and the hearts of beautiful women hell bent on turning his little insides to the out. so is the path of life. no need to run junior, as the uninterested priest admonishing the condemned man as a baby, saying “be a man, my son”. here’s our exit.. the blinker flickers and our road boat moves towards those woods. i worry if he will have rivers to wade and woods to walk when he reaches my age. our lives are very much akin to the rivers we move with, always changing yet somewhat familiar, revisiting and walking down the same paths can be beautiful and rewarding and in the light of certain times or events, painful and worse than death. with all of our movements comes paths and our paths are based on our movements. the water never stops moving and growing and neither should we. i pray that the boy never knows a life without these things. if i only i could make it so his heart wouldn’t bleed as hard as his old man’s has as of recently, but without blood the heart isn’t. sliding out of the car we dust off the filth of commotion and the problems brought from mans greed and spite. i once wanted nothing more than to hide all of these beautiful findings in the rivers and its surrounding, fearing their demise was imminent and perhaps upon keeping them secret could preserve their bodies. in the same breath my life, while clear in the open for others to see was mostly hidden for fear of the breaking of its branches and the draining of its water. but to live hidden, is not to live at all and pain, while painful indeed is just another emotion flowing, never meaning to be damned or blocked. no matter how high the water runs or the pain surges. the beautiful boy stumbles around to my side of the truck, with shoes untied, small hands overflowing with his importants and lovingly looks at me for approval and we set off towards the river, together, and i smile because after all, life is so simple.

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