Merry Christmas Dad.

It was with a low morning sun behind us myself and a friend walked from Dad’s grave down the hill past my old primary school. The road’s kinda twisty and as we talked about how screwed up and awful the world can be – both in its individual meaningless accidents and in its repetitive reproducing grinding inequality – we crossed back and forth to give ourselves and drivers the longest views of each other. My friend didn’t get why people would drive so fast on bendy country roads like this. As we turned up into the forest itself, I was muttering about time being elastic and related to knowledge and experience, that sounding much more profound that just saying people tend to drive faster when they know the roads like the back of their hands.

Ballymoyer River taken by Dad

Ballymoyer River taken by Dad

The winter thinned forest always seems like a paler unhealthier version of its summer self, as if was hibernating as whole, hiding out till things picked up again. It was a more restful than the forest Dad talked about as running and buck leaping through in his bare feet on his way to school as a child. The sun quietly zig-zagged through the spindley trunks, cutting across our path. Like our conversation it was shadow and light, shadow and light. We walked on, coming out under the bridge and our path then followed the river. I stopped at a bit of low metal fencing where Dad first took us kids fishing. In talking about the sensation of horror when Dad banged the fishes head of the narrow post to kill them – knowing now that the haste wasn’t cruelty but care – I cried tears of loss and grief that come in the moments you realise you are not simply thinking and talking about someone you love but remembering them. Life is all a series of moments. Shadow and light. Shadow and light.

We dandered on and the trees cleared for a little to our right and as we looked up across the hill three pairs of heron cranes where flying up behind four pairs of what I could only describe as white flying seahorse unicorns. We both stopped but breathed easy. The sun bounced off the creatures wings as they cleared the low mist of the field. They rose up in a flowing formation with grace, nussling close and circling around each as if talking and oblivious to all around. I couldn’t understands how they could fly so close without crashing into each other. It felt natural, and somehow of Christmas. We looked at each other as if we were seeing crows not majestic fanatasy and all I could think to say was “ Ya’know what? There’s still a lot of beauty in this world.”

 Theres still a lot of beauty in this world. That thought ran right through me this morning as I woke from this dream and I cried some more. Its a fierce generous man that sends you presents like that when you need them and can’t ask. Pretty sure he’d want me to share it.

Merry Christmas to you too Barry.

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