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No More Forever

by Ryan Kimball 7 days ago in Young Adult / Short Story / Love / Historical / Classical · updated 6 days ago
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Whisper's of the Wallowa's

No More Forever
Photo by Blake Carpenter on Unsplash

We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin. The sunset glimmered through the trees as we meandered slowly upward, into the foothills of the Wallowa Valley in Northeast Oregon. I had been there before, many years ago. My family used to go to that valley every year on labor day weekend when I was young, but that was a long time ago. Now as a jaded, balding, middle-aged man I and my wilting Aloe Vera plant had returned. We pulled up finally, to the lone cabin at the end of the road. I picked her up and curled her close to my body as I shoved the frozen driver door of my hatchback open. I trudged through the snow, cutting a brand new path from car to porch. This place hadn't seen life for awhile...

As the evening Sun slowly drifted beyond the mountains, a stillness seemed to fill the foothills and the valley below, causing me to stop and turn to look beyond the snow covered trees. I gently put my Aloe Vera down atop the tattered wood railing of the porch. It was as if in the absence of the Sun, the valley and everything in it was heading off to sleep, but not before the trees planted their evening song in the wind as it gently passed through; caressing snow covered branches and kicking up swirls of snow that danced upward as if to sing a quiet goodnight. I've always loved it there, because that place has so much history. There has always been a kind of majesty and mysticism in that valley for me; a euphoria born of the marriage between beauty and the untainted air as it meanders through, carrying the evening song of the trees.

By David Jusko on Unsplash

There are things there that don't exist where I live. My life in the city feels empty; though I can't seem to escape the sound of passing cars, the shouts of neighbors, the buzz of powerlines, or the rat wheel that the race for the almighty dollar has become. I also can't escape poverty, or my wife leaving, or the weekend I'll be spending in jail soon for vagrancy after getting black-out drunk and passing out on a trash heap in the city. At the time, I felt like that's where I belonged. She had just left, my wife. I promised her the world, but all I could muster up was a small two-bedroom apartment near downtown Portland with peeling paint and creaky floors. I guess after so many years of struggling we lost each other in the fold. We were asleep, walking an aimless walk to something resembling "the good life", with pockets full of stones. At the end, when we looked at each other we no longer saw the light in the others eyes. The light that years before had been so inviting, with the offer of love. The last time I looked at her, I searched for it, but it was lost...Then, she was gone.

The house was empty. She had taken all of the evidence of her existence and left without a trace one day while I was at work. When I came home I felt cold and afraid. I was alone for the first time in years, so I went to the discount grocery at the edge of town and bought my Aloe Vera. I brought her home and gently placed her on the kitchen table; at least now I had something to care for, that could heal me if I was hurt, if I needed her. I gave her a bit of water, and went to bed...I must have laid in bed for four or five days, watching sitcom reruns and hiding beneath the covers from the daylight that came and went. Finally I rose with a building urge to "get out". I showered, dressed, made the phone call and packed. Now there we were, in the evening cold of the Wallowa valley communing with the trees, as their songs floated upon the passing wind.

By Piotr Chrobot on Unsplash

"It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and the broken promises." - Chief Joseph

It was cold, but the reunion of my soul with the place I had loved as a boy was warming my heart. The anguish of the past seemed to be slowly melting away as I stood there on the porch of the cabin, gazing into the snow covered trees. For all that I have gained and lost in my life, that place was still there; unchanged beneath the sky, healing my grief as it always had. How many with tortured souls like mine had gone there to "get away"; to be healed by the spirits that reside within the valley?

Slowly, the wind died down. The songs faded away with the winds last breath, and the snow stopped dancing. It was still again for a moment, then as the suns last rays of light peaked over the mountain top it came to me like a whisper from the depths of the earth beneath me; the cure. I felt a shiver of relief pass over me as I picked up my Aloe Vera, and turned to enter the cabin. I shook the key once after I put it in the knob, and turned it to the left letting the door drift open. As I crossed the threshold Aloe Vera in hand, I turned one last time to gaze through the trees for a moment. In that moment I felt like I had been touched by God, or a wise spirit that tends to the troubled souls of his children as they wander home from the world. I breathed the mountain air once more, and closed the door...

"Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the Sun now stands I will fight no more forever." - Chief Joseph

Young AdultShort StoryLoveHistoricalClassical

About the author

Ryan Kimball

I love nature and all of the arts, but writing is my main passion. At 34, I've already lived an eventful and interesting life. I hope you'll check out my stories and enjoy them. Peace.

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