Important Disclaimer

Since I currently have several employers/supervisors/churches/etc., please know that none of the words on my blog represent them or their beliefs. This blog is my own creation.

It also does not represent my children's perspective, nor my mother's; they think I am funny, but misguided.
(Quick update: only my mother thinks I'm funny now.)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ghosts on the River

When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid." Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
~Mark 6:47-56

Middle of PA, off the turnpike

I am meandering toward Pittsburgh today. The nice thing about living on a bus line is, well, the bus is right there. So a 5:30am bus to the transit center in Trenton, the 6:15 train to 30th Street, and then Megabus to get to Pittsburgh. I think there's a city bus on the other side to get where I'm finally going, but I'll worry about that when we get there.

Oh, how I love to travel! I love everything about it. If home is where my heart is, then home must be all over the place...

So there I was, on a bus along a river, and I was reminded of a place I went as a child in the foothills behind the City of Claremont. I attended a Montessori school for a couple of years. It was a horrific
place in ways I will save for my someday book, but there were joys to be found even there. Every year we went to a dry riverbed to picnic and look for insects. I realize this may not sound like so much joy to those of you from lusher places, but follow me a little bit.

We packed a sack lunch and drove a ways into the hills. There was a turn out off the side of the road, meant for early spring days when the water still flowed through the rocky bed. We went late spring or early fall, when the rains had long gone and there was not even a trickle. The vegetation was various shades of pale green and yellow gold, dry dry dry. 

This wasn't it, and there wasn't a golf course. But something like it.
 Clean UP Tujunga Wash--Friends of the L.A. River

Our assignment was to catch bugs, although I do not remember why. I don't remember if I caught any either, but I did catch a boy...

His name was Marlin, and he was the forever-in-trouble-foster-child of the evil headmistress. He had an easy smile and a sweet way about him, and I was am a sucker for a sad case. I had lunch, and he didn't, as was often the case, so we walked a ways and shared. We were given a lot of latitude in those days before liability lawsuits choked up our lives, and Marlin and I wandered far down the riverbed. I suppose we were looking for bugs, but it is hard to catch bugs when you are holding hands with somebody.

Oh 4th grade love!

He turned to me and said, "Will you be my girlfriend?"
I looked down and to the side and grinned, "Yes. Yes I will."

Did we seal it with a kiss? I don't remember that either, but it seemed like a forever promise.

And maybe it is, if I'm sitting on a bus 30 years later and thinking about him.

These ghosts we see on the water--perhaps it depends on which ghosts we choose to see. There are ghosts that harden my heart until I cannot understand the loaves. But I will save them for my someday book, and today I'll remember the touch of a boy's hand who loved me easy and sweet three decades back.




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