Misty morning at Swifts Creek

By Delbert H. Rhodes

 

The eyes of morning slowly open and birdsong fills the day. Crystal sunshine peeks through twilight curtains, and once more, the breath of God-and Nature-is conscious. Sounds titillating the fabric play in the near distance. These are mere signs of the day stretching its limbs. Earlier: dog barks cracked the darkness, soon, their noises settled to quietness and all stilled. The dogs did their jobs well, always sounding alarms to any intruder. Once or twice, the soft whines of car engines stabbed the quiet. Traveling out of the area, the incoherent booms drifted away, leaving a wake of silence; nevertheless, other sounds offered finger scratches to morning’s ears.

The day yawned: tickling Delgado’s mind. His mind giggling, it toys with Delgado’s feelings. His mind, as would a friend who knows him well, has a way of irking him; it taps into his deeper self. Of course, this is true; the human mind knows us, and is vigilant for all our lives. Delgado lies in bed listening to his feathered friends. They readied for the day’s adventures and he readied for his thoughts.

Far away are two of the most important people in his life. They are the children of a special woman. He has known her since junior high school. For many years, mommy and Delgado had shared lives as a couple. Delgado is without offspring and the girls are his only children. Of course, the contention is his, and never discussed with them, but mommy knows. Delgado often refers to the girls as ‘my babies.’ The girls were about four and five years old when he met them. Marianne was already reading: on his first visit to grandma’s house, Marianne left his side to retrieve her book. Snuggling next to him, Marianne returned to ‘readland.’ Delgado loved having her near him.

The morning watching: Delgado replays the mental movie. He has played this movie for many years. The scenes are always the same. The video running: with tears bathing his eyes, Delgado stands telling the girls of his love for them. In the movie and in truth: Delgado (always) apologizes for withholding his feelings.

During their childhood, never once did he say, “I love you.” Mommy never permitted the girls to leave home without hugging, hearing “I love you,” and exchanging kisses, especially after she had chastised them. She held a strong position here, the matter was critical. Her daughters should never leave without knowing and feeling her love for them. In addition, “They must never leave home angry,” she always said. “It might be the last time we see each other.” Delgado always told mommy, “You do an excellent job with the girls; you’re a ‘good’ mom.” He felt much pride for her. The girls were fortunate to have the wonderful mommy they inherited. Some mothers do not care as much some never love as much.

Although Delgado never verbally expressed his love for the girls, the feelings were present, and of this, he is certain. Still, hearing it from him would have been wonderful.

Teary, Delgado revisits thoughts of yesterday and his restrictiveness. He never wanted to come between the girls and their father. Therefore, Delgado held back much of his feelings. Their dad was a good man, and Delgado liked him a lot, they actually became close acquaintances. Had circumstances been different, the two men might have been great friends. Occasionally and whenever dad would drop by, sometimes he and Delgado listened to music. Mommy and dad’s girlfriend would busy themselves elsewhere. Charlie Rich, AKA, ‘The Silver Fox,’ was a great Country singer, and both men liked his works. Many times, the two troubadours bellowed right along with old Charlie… “Hey, did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world…” Neither their women nor the neighbors ever complained. Life is sometimes sweet. Again, never desiring to injure daddy’s image, privately, Delgado takes a stance.

Delgado was the man at home, the protector, meeting anything everything head on, even falling if needed. The girls’ safety was his responsibility, and ‘no-one’ would ever harm them. They depended on him they trusted him. He knew this and felt great pride. Delgado shared their sickness and sadness, sorrows, their fears faced his shield, and when the girls cried, empathy sharpened his sword. Lovingly, if their tummies were too full, he felt the swell. Delgado remembers everything about these two: Krista’s passionate toy with her love for him and Marianne’s ever openness with her own.

Delgado never forgets: Marianne’s tender caress and gentle hand patting his back. The endearing moment always calms him. Krista’s loving blue eyes and sweet staring smile, warming his heart. These and other memories live with him everyday every minute. (They support him whenever he needs strong and sturdy legs.) The sisters were different in many ways, and Delgado loved them all. Krista, AKA “Kristafer,” was the engaging tomboy, and her elder sister, Marianne, the studious aloof and quiet one. The girls were beautiful, loving, joyful, and fun and Delgado adored them. Privately, he wanted them as his own. Sincerely: Delgado wished the girls were his true daughters. Yes, they were not his by heritage, but they were his by heart. (Respectfully) sometimes, heritage is less weighty than heart. He loves them.

The radio calls out its station, and tunes of the seventies embrace him. Delgado was a teenager and young adult during this period. His memory rang of high school, heartbreaks, college, girls, and fun. The hippy era of the sixties pouring into the early seventies soon waned. Still, tie die tee shirts long hair and free love floated the air. The human form, in all its mystery and majesty, in all its periling beauty, thrilled the daring, or lovingly lustful, seeking adventuresome peaks. Delgado adores the female form. “If she looks good in jeans, she looks good in anything,” he always said.

Other memories not so pleasant pinch his consciousness. Although never encouraging unpleasant thoughts, Delgado permits them equal time. After all, the bad, as well as the good, share his life, deserving respect.

Remembering the girls always brings Delgado smiles. Rarely could he think of them without melancholy, but the memories are more pleasurable than depressing. Most times, and as though he were some love torn lady beaten by sorrow, tears stream his face. Considering hurt, females hold no private place. Men know well the dominion of pain and depression, and Delgado never hides from his feelings. He never hides from the truth ‘about’ feelings. In the norm, to be ‘manly’ one must be tough. Toughness has many hats, and this truth arrived early in Delgado’s life, and as a younger man.

Whenever he feels the need, Delgado cries, privately, but he cries. Crying offers the best release from suffrage. Delgado feels for men never understanding this fact; he sometimes scorns those refusing acknowledgement of their female side. Besides, and accept it or not, all men are genetically half-female- “It is who we are.” Accordingly, every hominid fetus is female first, the male occurs somewhat (and almost) accidentally. That is correct tough guy, as a ‘man’ you are an accident. Now, try ‘that’ on, because here, size definitely does not matter.

Delgado cried publicly three times in his adult life. Each occasion was deeply personal and powerful: the first two events: occurred in front of women who loved him, the girls’ mother, and then, his mom. The third occurred in the company of men who respected him, Delgado’s SPD Police Corporal, and Delgado’s Surgeon. Each time the results were the same, he felt cleansed. He said to his mother, “Men aren’t supposed to cry.” She responded, “Then why do they have tear ducts?” Sometimes, mothers demonstrate awesome intelligence and common sense. Society places heavy burdens on the male. Yet venturing outside the ‘code,’ in Delgado’s day, could have been costly. Nowadays, if he cries, he cries alone.

The day brings joy to Delgado. Yes, he often feels sad, but life has its way, and is never apologetic. Delgado has had years to adopt. One must roll with the punches, most times; situations blink blind eyes to choices. “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.” All his life, for one reason or another, Delgado has suffered. Many times, he has endured grave psycho-emotional pain. So much so, that he sometimes wished for a way out. Suicide is never a resolution. He relies on his inner strength to help him through difficulties. Yes, he also calls on the heavens. Actually, it is “The Mother” he speaks to, ‘She’ is his benefactor.

Because he is a private man, Delgado never shares deeply personal hurts, even with close friends. Today, he lives without friends. You ask why: Another of life’s harsher choices, but for personal reasons, the better choice.

Outside his window: traffic zips by and tire roll is noisy. Add to that the annoyingly booming radios; a guy could go nuts! Where are the police on holiday? Although the distractions appall him, Delgado’s thoughts remain on course, and he thinks it through.

Naturally, Delgado realizes suicide to be antagonistic; it is cowardly and brave. Cowards kill (themselves) to avoid the circumstances of their actions. Still, and if one is of a stable mind, and if ‘that’ is possible, taking one’s life requires bravery. For the unstable, suicide is merely release: Delgado, although without suicidal instability, understands suffrage, and he understands release, however, he knows that bravery bears a willing responsibility, and the endurance of pain. Sometimes… pain is ‘all’ he knows.

The morning winks and Delgado thinks of breakfast. To him this is the best and most important meal. He loves breakfast and enjoys it. Often while preparing the meal, Delgado recalls the many he had with the girls…

…The girls and Delgado sit at the table, mommy is busy in the kitchen, and the air suffocates with conversation. Subjects are many, and laughter is thrilling. Often to the girls’ various questions, Delgado responds as would the professor to his students. Ever pleasantly regarding him, Marianne never volunteers scorn. Krista, on the other hand, always takes aim and lets one fly. “Del, you’re ‘too’ heavy,” offering a big bright-eyed twisted smile in follow-up. Chiming in also smiling, Marianne supports the little one.

Delgado always tries to replace the failed explanation with another less weighty. Then everybody would scream with laughter. Joy always fills these moments. Forever: Delgado wishes them with him.

The truth is, Delgado always eats alone, and rarely if ever has company. His days and nights suffer the invasive noises of neighbors. Regarding this, he would prefer to be alone-totally. Because he is poor, Delgado has little choice of residences. He can afford the less beautiful filled by the less desirable. Still, he deals with it, and does his best. If only I had the money, Delgado exclaims, I could choose a better lifestyle with better people. One day, maybe, he tells himself.

The poor can never choose: lifestyles are matters of heritage and/or results. Past behaviors or lack of them determines conditions. Unfortunately, and sometimes, the poor suffer burdens other times they are responsible for them. Delgado knows this fact all too well. His mind and the morning witness his unhappiness. Choices made years ago place him here. Therefore, and daily, he lives, as he must, a poor man without friends, or family, to help him. Most times, without anyone to talk to, after the workday.

Although he is, technically alone he is rarely lonely. Delgado has much to occupy and challenge his mind. Work occupies, although rarely challenges, his mind the most. Preferably, he would never work anymore, but full retirement is not an option. Hell, it is not for most Americans.

Delgado’s mind returns to Marianne and Krista and then he relaxes. Boy, he thinks, their children, and all children, have much to face. What good is a formal education? With diploma in hand off, they go to what. That is correct; the jobs exited the door before you. Today, what message do high school counselors and college advisors provide for students? Students never need formal education to be jobless or poor.

Some say Taxes are too high. Maybe. Delgado asks does greed play a part. Do these companies fight hard to remain in America; do they care, really, about the thousands put out of work each month? Do they? After twenty years with a company a worker is told, “The Company is closing, we are moving to ‘India.’” In all ignorance, Delgado suggests, modify Tax Codes to benefit companies that return to America. Let us bring jobs home. Probably not right? The measure is too sensible. Well, how sensible is it to impoverish hard working Americans? If the ‘most powerful nation’ kneels to the world, then how can its people stand?

(Outside the sky is gray and rain lightly falls. The gutters pang with dripping water. Nearby the coos of a bird can be heard, and other creatures add their voices. The little bird calls each day all day to a mate that never responds, a mate, seemingly, that does not exist. This unfortunate creature stands waiting never yielding. Refusing it seems, to give ground not even to search elsewhere. Probably: its ancestors dwelled in this place, binding it by birth, by heritage, to live here, and never to surrender its loyalties.)

In some ways, Delgado relates to the tiny creature. The tenacity the ‘will’ of this little one is admirable. Some birds, the Crow for example, demonstrate conceptual abilities. Whether the tenacious bird is conceptual is unknown to Delgado. The sad bird is pleasing to the eyes, it is lovely. Each day: he hears its wanton cries, he watches it, he believes he feels its aches, and hurts from its sorrows. Sometimes, even tears want to cry. The lone bird, as is Delgado, has been born to its fate; a fate unchangeable no matter its determination no matter its ‘will.’

Delgado many times has attempted to change his lifestyle, always ending without desired results without the prize. Without mating, the bird has no offspring, with the call of death it perishes forever. (This Delgado understands this too is ‘his’ fate.)

The trees are budding, and the weather is milder. Delgado loves springtime and rain. The rain relaxes him, and the spring artfully brushes the tapestry; the array of colors is splendid. Life dormant during winter begins to emerge. Spring’s aromatic flavors titillate every living creature. Colorful succulent flowers await the bee’s embrace. Snakes yawn and stretch and change skins. The mighty bear roars ever yielding to honey’s’ sweetness. The tiniest insects coordinate and cooperate with nature’s plan, serving the lands, the skies, and humankind.

Delgado could do without some insects, however, those that ‘move in’ and without invitation. Hey, guys, if you are not paying, then you are not staying. Delgado stretches.

Thinking: Delgado marvels at the miracle of the day, the miracle of the morning. What would life be without them? Without the sweeping skies the roaring seas without terra firma, we would have nothing, there would be nothing. Consider the preparation of a favorite food and the effects on the taste buds. Would Saturday or Sunday mornings be complete without the adoring aromas? What of that special song floating you back to whenever with whomever? Where would we be without a peaceful private moment? (In addition) what of night surrendering its every present mysteries and sensuous solitudes. These and countless other gifts are the day the morning the miracle.

(The experts say the day has no breaking points; accordingly, it is continuous. They go on, that man inserts time to make life tangible, to provide regulation. The clock paces us throughout our lifetime, but what would life be without this artificial implant.)

Delgado shrinks the screen to view his Desktop. Krista’s girls and friends stare back at him. “The girls” are lovely and he anticipates meeting them. Their eyes are the last he sees at night and they welcome him home. He is not alone after all. Delgado smiles and then looks to the kitchen.

Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Pancakes, and light veggies: these things make Delgado happy. Food makes him happy. He loves food. The aromas thrill everything in him. Morning anticipates the festive breakfast, and Delgado wants anxiously to begin. He looks forward to sitting with his meal. Oh, by the way, this guy does not drink coffee, but a tall glass of milk, chased by O.J. and Lemon Juice. Now, sprinkle some Flax Seeds atop the meal, and away we go. Additionally, feed the DVD a good movie, probably a ‘scary,’ a spy flick, or Sci-Fi, and the morning’s off to a wonderful end. The latter day offers further contemplation, but for now, it is all about the morning. Even during nighttime: always, it is about the miracle of “morning.”

Copyright © 2009 Delbert H. Rhodes

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