Dirt Life / Lovers of Love.
Dirt Life / Fruits of Labor / Life & Death.
Dirt Life / Simplicity / King of Soil.
“I can’t even say goodbye,” Emma muttered as we pulled up to the Salt Lake City International Airport. The day had arrived for a plane to fly her and a group of other local doctors and nurses to Lima, Peru for an effort to help aid in hygiene and wellness. We knew the day had been close at hand for the past week, but now that it had arrived the emotions were running high.
“Goodbye, Ollie, I’m gonna miss you.” I could tell that it was one of the hardest things she’s had to do for quite sometime. I mean, to be frank, I don’t think I have ever seen her get as worked up as this when I take off (and I take off a lot). You could almost see the connection of mother / son take form as Ollie clung his arms around her neck. No, he didn’t understand that his Mama was leaving, but he could tell that she was upset. With a kiss and an embrace she was off. She slipped through the automatic doors, leading into the terminal, and I sat. It was Ollie and me. In the 8 (almost 9 now, good heavens.) years that I have been married to Emma I have never been left at home, alone. I have been the “leaver” the “taker-offer” the one to abandon the nest in search of food, but I have never been on the other side of it. There is a lonesome air to it that I partially enjoy. But mostly anxiety. I get filled with dread, thinking that something might go wrong, that something might happen that can’t be undone. But then again, that’s just life, and to live it in fear is to NOT live it at all.
Last week, about this time I got a call from my brother.
“Joshua, this is kind of an emergency.” He said on the other side of the line.
“Well WHAT!?? What is going on?”
“I am at the hospital…I came to insta care because I poured some gasoline over that pile of wood in my front yard, I am sure you know which pile I am talking about. Well, anyways, I lit it, after pouring WAY too much gas on it, and it blew up in my face. Half of my body is burned and I am just making sure that the burns aren’t 3rd degree, so I came here.”
I sat on the other side of the line, speechless.
“Are you OK..?” was all I was able to muster up.
“Yes, I think that I am fine, I just wanted to double check, and so I came here. Would you mind driving me up to the University burn clinic to get some ointments for it? I don’t think it will take too long?” He replied.
“Of course, I will be right over.” I left the recording session that I was in and raced over to my brother’s place in Pleasant Grove. The burns had blistered up all and down his arm and shoulder, but fortunately hadn’t gotten his face too bad. We drove to the burn clinic in Salt Lake City and they proceeded to inform him that he would need to have the burn “scraped”. Now, when it comes to skin, the last thing that I would ever want a professional to tell me is that I needed to have mine “scraped”. They then told him that usually the patients that come in take some pain medicine before the procedure because of how painful it is. My brother, being the man, the muscular specimen that he is explained that he didn’t have the time to come back to SLC and that he would rather just do it right then. I winced in the thought and as they prepared his room of torture and tearing I tried to keep his mind calm by talking to him about ANYTHING other than what was about to happen.
“Colby James?” the slightly overweight, middle aged woman said, looking around the waiting room, even though we were the only two in the place.
“Yeah, right here…” He seemed calm, collected, and ready. I waited in anticipation that left my palms sweaty and heart rate high. He came out with a mummy’s arm, wrapped thick with gauze and protective ointments. As we got into the car he explained that it was an extremely painful process and that he should have opted for the meds. We headed back to the valley and spent the day in the shade.
The next day Emma, Ollie and I headed to the mountains to give a go at camping. The whole day was spectacular filled with hikes, cooking and setting up camp. Finding a sense of solace in the woods. At around 9 o clock Ollie laid down. We weren’t sure if the pack n play in the back of my tour van would work but he was soon asleep after laying him down. Soon there after some good friends joined us around the fire. As we discussed the grand mystery the clock turned 12, and from the deep corner of the van I heard a baby cry. It was an irregular sound, one that I had never heard Ollie make. He sounded scared. Both Emma and I went into the back of the van and tried to comfort him, as soon as he would stop crying and appeared ready to be laid back down he would start to scream again. So I sat in the back captain’s chair and had him fall asleep in my arms. The hours passed as I sat in that chair, holding something/someone that means more to me than death. At 3 o clock I was able to lay him down next to his Mama and we slept until 6am, when the sun gave us a dose of light and heat. I made an extremely large pot of coffee over the campfire and the first camping experience was well under our belt.
Hikers Union / Workers Due
Baseball Diamond Blues
Both the camping trip and my brother’s horrific mishap with gasoline and flame happened three days before Emma’s departure. Due to the extremity of the burns that Colby endured my brother has not been able to return to work, which leaves him ample time to relax and collect thought. It (and heaven knows I am NOT wishing this upon him) came at the right time, opening him up to experiences outside of his regular schedule. It has been a beautiful time to spend time with both my boy’s (Oliver and Colby). The time together since the Mama left has been some of the best time that I have spent with my little man. We have been planting, gardening, fixing, painting, shopping, swimming, biking, hiking, blueberries in the park and overall creating a good pool of memory to draw from in the future (mostly for me).
Take it Easy / Take It Slow / Ollie in the Swing o’things.
Sister & Cayo / Ladies Makin’ Babies / Babies Makin’ Mothers
Baby Brother / Uncle Coco / Swimming and No Swimming.
Swimming Sin (without) Ropa.
Cousins in Concert / Provo / Rooftops.
Now, I know that it sounds hokey, and it is (hokey). But I enjoy drawing parallels between life events. It helps me make sense out of the nonsensical situation of life and love. I AM A SELFISH MAN/PERSON/HUMAN. I am focused on what it is that “I” must get done, what “I” am doing, on the songs that “I” have written, and the like (the list goes on and on). The burning of my brother’s arm had a direct influence on me / my brain. When Ollie was born over a year ago, and though it might sound terrible, I felt that my whole body / mind was reworked / burned / changed. The “scraping” has been a longer process for me than it was for my brother in that burn clinic that fateful day. The departure of Ollie’s Mama has helped me come to the realization of the beautiful possibilities of life and the “post-scraping”. Everything moves slower but better. The simple joy, the smile, the raw communication of a “non-talker”, as Ollie is, has helped me let go of the pre-conceived, selfish motives to further the “I” in me.
While Emma is in Peru I will be starting a record with Virginian singer-songwriter Luke Mitchem. He flies in tomorrow and I am in the process of a true juggling circus act. But the lion has yet to eat me, and if I have anything to say about it, I will be the perpetual ringmaster. And “CRACK” goes the whip. And with the blink of an eye we are 16, then 30, then 60, then dead. Every day is our last. Every day a gift. It is hard, and maybe impossible, to live with such a feeling (always). But by golly, I will die tryin’
Oh, the beauty that life gives. LOVE,