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Arroyos: A Collection of Short Stories, Vol. 1 Copyright © 2008 Clyde Grauke

To see further works by Clyde Grauke visit: http://clydes-corner.blogspot.com http://clydegrauke.imagekind.com

Published by C & G Creations Original edition: © 2008 Clyde Grauke Cover design by Clyde Grauke Illustrations by Clyde Grauke All Rights Reserved

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Spectacles...........................................................................................................................................................................................4 The Benediction ........................................................................................................................................................................................5 A Christmas Memory...............................................................................................................................................................................6 The Photograph ........................................................................................................................................................................................8 Mesquite Bark ..........................................................................................................................................................................................9 Power Point.............................................................................................................................................................................................10 The Forgotten Pivot Point .....................................................................................................................................................................12 The Beachcomber...................................................................................................................................................................................13 A Step in Time ........................................................................................................................................................................................14 Candle Light ...........................................................................................................................................................................................15 The Fisherman........................................................................................................................................................................................16 Sunni’s Goodbye.....................................................................................................................................................................................17 The Death of the White-winged Dove...................................................................................................................................................18 Tic Marks................................................................................................................................................................................................19 Kulijah Was a Friend of Mine...............................................................................................................................................................20 Remnants ................................................................................................................................................................................................21

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The Spectacles It seemed like a simple-enough idea, and I was open to any idea related to exploring. I think I was with some other guys, about my age. We would have been between 8-12 years old. We were walking around in general with no particular goal in mind when it was suggested that we could go look in an old abandoned house. I had passed it before and not really noticed it. Weeds were growing in the yard and the door was unlocked when we went up to it. It’s funny how hollow a house seems when all its life has escaped. You can smell its history-its occupants always slipping out of sight just around the corners as soon as you move from one room to the other. Only the mute dust remains to speak of times past. I was thinking that they had really emptied this house out until I opened the drawer. I opened the drawer and inside was a hard, oblong, black case. It was something I thought I had seen before, but I wasn’t sure. I slowly opened the case and found inside an old pair of glasses. The old kind with round lenses and thin, wiry-type things to go over your ears. The old glasses of an old person-Why were they here? Why did they leave this of all things? Why did they no longer need these glasses? Or did they need them? The glasses had no answer-they just looked back at me. I apologetically closed the case and put the glasses back in the drawer and shut it carefully. I quietly joined my friends in the other room and I told them there was nothing here of interest, so maybe we should go. We left the house and continued our walk. But the glasses are still in my head.

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The Benediction The footsteps…you might think they were ponderous and heavy in their slow motion…their repetition…playing it over and over in my head with a strange fascination with the incongruous satisfaction the repetition brings. The short, timeless, movement of a particular time…a very particular time that happened only once but it outshines most others…it returns unbidden in the unexpected moments…the moments when it is needed…when I don’t even know it is needed but the feeling it brings on its arrival tells me a void has been filled…a satisfaction has been achieved and the profound benediction of being OK has been applied…oil and soot to the forehead...still available like an echo long after the footsteps have died away. My father and I were carrying the lifeless body of my pet dog wrapped in an old blanket. I had one end of the blanket gathered up in my hands and he had the other. We walked across the yard without speaking. He was leading the way. I was a young teenager growing to manhood. He was a middle-aged man growing to old age. Our dog was the only dog I had known and been our pet for years. We walked across that short distance of yard and just before we got to the back of the garage where we were going to bury her, one of her feet fell into view from the folds of the cloth and we saw it. Dead and stiff and suddenly before us as the thing itself…not just the weight unseen in the folds of the blanket. And Daddy stopped and tucked her foot gently back out of sight and he looked at me and asked if I was alright. I said that I was. And together we buried our dog.

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A Christmas Memory The wheels…they go round and round… The year was 1950, and I was seven years old. It was Christmas time and my parents, my sister and I all bundled ourselves into our old Model A Ford, that was parked beside my home in San Angelo, Texas, and we went off to the home of MawMaw and PawPaw. They lived in Dublin, Texas-a small rural town about 13 miles West of Stephenville. I always looked forward to trips to Dublin, and Christmas was always a magical time of year. Although nothing truly remarkable had as yet ever happened to me at Christmas--that was about to change. When we arrived on Christmas Eve, we were met in the front yard by my grandparents, and we went in to have a pleasant evening in their house - a house which always had a special, comfortable feeling to me. It was very old and had faced the elements for years and had probably never been painted. The wood on the outside was old, weathered wood. Inside there was no electricity or running water and no phone. There were two bedrooms, a kitchen with an ice chest, and the stove was a gas stove. There was no sink. Of course the bathroom was an outhouse down a path through their garden. I made sure I had taken care of any outhouse needs before the sun went down as the trip out there alone in the dark could be pretty spooky. I am sure that my two uncles and their families came over as they always did. They also lived in Dublin. There would have been conversation and frequently the playing of Bluegrass music on the fiddle. I don’t remember exactly how it went this evening, but eventually the day wound down. When it came time to go to bed, I was given the couch in the living room as my place to sleep. I don’t recall any Christmas decorations, but there may have been a few simple ones. They blew out the kerosene lamp and they all went to bed. The car lights of occasionally passing cars filtered through the old, thin lacy curtains. I lay there watching these shadows as they traced their way around the room. I was finally lulled to sleep by the tick tock of the old pendulum clock on the wall. I was awakened by someone the next morning and opened my eyes to see the most amazing sight. Right in the middle of the living room was this huge bicycle! I couldn’t believe it. Where in the world had that come from? Then wonder of wonders, it got through to me that this was actually my Christmas gift. I had no idea how in the world I was going to ride it, but that did not deter me from being very happy. After breakfast my dad took me outside with the bicycle, and we went across the road to a caliche street that had an incline. When he put me on the seat of the bicycle, my feet could not reach the petals, so I had get off the seat and shift from one side to the other to take the petals around the full turn. The handle bars were so wide I could barely reach them with my arms out straight. Of course I had never been on a bike before so when my father would get me to rolling and call out my instructions I went for quite a few major crashes, but I knew that sooner or later I would learn how to ride my bike. I later learned that the reason I had received such a large bike was that my father, with his income of a carpenter, knew that not only was he limited in what he could get me for Christmas but he also wanted to get

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me one bike only. The bike I got was a used one from a cousin, and Dad had paid about $3 dollars for it. He had obviously stored the parts in the trunk of the car and put it together Christmas night. He was as happy to get it for me as I was to get it, which was an added plus. I did learn to ride the bike, and it gave me many good times. I tended to use it primarily like my virtual horse. In addition to using it to "play Indian" I would also go to extremes in learning to do tricks on it as if I were on a horse in the circus. Besides almost never riding it while holding the handle bars, trying to figure out how to ride it backwards (which I never learned), hopping off at full speed, running alongside, then hopping back into the "saddle" without slowing the bike down, my favorite trick was to standup up straight while standing on the flat rack above the back tire. Getting into the standing position and keeping it going for about half a block was fairly easy, but as the bike began to slow down, getting myself back onto the seat and in control with the handle bars was pretty tricky, and I took quite a few tumbles. As one would expect, I finally rode my bike into the ground. I don’t know where its final resting place is, but I am sure it is still there in some fashion…bits of rusted metal under the earth. Along with it, within the earth, are also my father, my grandparents, and my two uncles. My grandparent’s old house has been torn down, and the new house that my dad and one of the uncles had built for them is also worn down now and occupied by strangers. My home in San Angelo, also built by my father, is run down and almost not recognizable. But in this season of the winter solstice is the promise of the eternal return, the rebirth of spring, the return of the sun to its full glory. I have two grown children who have each received their bikes, and now three grandchildren who may just have some wheels coming their way when they are old enough. And the wheels… they are going round and round....

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The Photograph When we two kids had tumbled into the back seat of the car, mom double checked to see that she had the Argus while Dad drove off down the caliche street alongside our house to head for the lake. The sun was past halfway down the afternoon of one of those perfect summer days whose details escape you, but whose wholeness lingers forever. They were off to catch a photograph of the sun setting across the lake. The sky was clear and there was no breeze as they finally rolled up to park and they got out to select the best view. The sun was now getting close to the edge of the world and the water was a liquid mirror. They picked a spot with willow trees at the edge of the composition and the sun lay beside two small peaks that stood side by side on the flat horizon. Two peaks that had been a landmark long before there was a fort or a frontier town, and long before we had come along. The twilight descended and a soft click marked the moment of sampling a cup from the river of time…a sample of the simple and safe comforts of youth, and hope, and unknown futures… It was a view of a soft and darkening twilight with the sun forever poised above its watery reflection and the boundary between the past and the future…a boundary consisting of a thin, familiar line. A view that still brings with it peace and contentment…a window that looks out onto a world that the river has long-since flowed past. The print hung for a long time in my parent’s home, and it now has its special place above my bed, where rising or setting, I can steep myself in its memories.

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Mesquite Bark I don’t go to reunions. I have never been to one of any type and I don’t plan to in the future. I just throw away those requests for updates, the announced plans to have a reunion, and stuff‌ I have no interest I any alumni association. I have no old friends from high school or college, but I do have a small piece of bark I tore off the trunk of an old gnarled Mesquite tree. There was once a rare day when I was able to visit my home town and also have at the same time the luxury of having half a day alone with my car. Like a far-ranging hunting dog I crossed as many old trails as I could fit in, savoring the smells of past moments that still lingered-imperceptible to all except to those who had made the trails themselves. One of the places I went to visit on that day was my high school. I parked my car on one of the lots and walked around. Virtually no building had changed, they were just older like me. Every location brought back scenes like an overlaid replay on the current silent emptiness. The things I did-the discoveries I made-my view of myself and my place in the world preserved in minute detail. And in the middle of the campus stood an old mesquite tree--still there all these years. It still watched the young kids passing by like a river. The tree and I the only two living things that could remember how it was. I took a small sliver of one piece of its old rugged bark and put it in my pocket as a token of our reunion. That piece of bark is somewhere in a box within boxes. A little box with simple, precious souvenirs.

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Illustration by Clyde Grauke © 2008

Power Point There was this old man. He lived alone, best I could tell. He lived way out in the wastelands between San Angelo and Robert Lee, among the cactus, mesquite, and rattlesnakes. He raised sheep, which was no big deal to me. What was a big deal to me was what he had on his land… a mesa that had weathered away to just a limestone crown on top of a steep cone of loose dirt and rocks. The old man controlled access to that peak and the arrowheads scattered all around-which were the main reason I would normally go there…to find arrowheads. I was too shy to want to ask the old man for permission by myself, so I had to go with someone else to keep from having to do it by myself. Once he had said, “Ok,” we would close the cattle gate behind the car and drive off into the middle of nowhere and then get out and start wandering around. There was one time I came with some other guy from High School…don’t remember who…and we were climbing around higher along the edge of the peak than usual. I got it into my head that I wanted to see if I could climb all the way to the top. He wanted to go somewhere else and for once I decided to go where I wanted to go. I went on toward the top by myself. The way to the top was not as easy to find as I had thought, but by cutting back and forth I finally came out on top.

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The top of the peak itself didn’t look particularly imposing. It was just some kind of uneven limestone with different cracks and plants and stuff…but the view…I stepped out to the middle and looked out across miles and miles of silent, arid land…old land…the land the Indians saw. I knew I was touching them across time…the others who had come to this same point. I stood tall, looking out across the land and I spread my arms out wide. In that timeless moment a knowingness settled around me…a knowingness unexpected and engulfing…a knowingness like a ray of sunshine breaking through clouds, a knowledge that deep inside I was ok and that whatever I chose to do I would have the power to achieve. I was responsible for those choices, but I could make of my life what I wanted because the Power of the universe was inside me. After I had soaked myself in this moment as long as I could, I finally talked myself into climbing back down. I kept my experience to myself as I resumed my normal routines. But inside, where no one goes, in the vastness of interior space, I have a place, a point of power, that is always there.

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The Forgotten Pivot Point Most things around me were hand-made when I was growing up, including the gate to my backyard. The gate was painted white just like our wooden clapboard house, which my father had also built. He had made the latch of the gate by just attaching a short board so that it pivoted on a bolt. There was a wooden notch to catch the latch. Whether I was getting home from school or going out to play or going for long walks, opening or shutting the gate would be accompanied by the satisfying, “klunk” of the latch being opened or shut. I have recently been thinking about those days, and I am puzzled about a missing memory. I cannot remember shutting that gate the last time, but I know there was a last time. It would have been when I was going off to college. I was also very much in love and engaged, so ahead of me was all my married life and all of my career. Behind me was all of my childhood from as early as I could remember. My parents had just moved to another town to follow my father’s only change of work that I had ever known. I was alone in the house, gathering up my last few articles. Everything else had been moved out, and the familiar house was empty. Ghosts of the past were too young to even be rising. Instead there were only the soundless echoes of all the years of myself and my family growing together…echoes that were all jumbled together into the ringing hollowness of the too little rooms that were barren of more things than I could bring to mind. I would have looked into each empty room and then gone outside, locking the door to the house behind me. I would have crossed the empty yard on my way to the gate. I would have been aware of the absence of my dog, who would once have been dancing around my feet, but that now was sleeping underground behind the garage. Then I would have turned around outside the gate and closed it for the last time. I never went back into that yard, although I have often cruised slowly past the deteriorating house that I can barely recognize…a run-down house that is occupied by strangers who litter my yard and house with junk and debris. Lately I have reached the point of returning less and less. Maybe I have reached another pivot point, one where you say your belated goodbye’s and turn, and while turning, close the gate… ”klunck.”

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Illustration by Clyde Grauke © 2008

The Beachcomber The tip of my forceps moves gently through the small pebbles as I search the remnants of an ancient seashore. I sort the pebbles into different piles and then…there…the small spiral rock. I grasp the tiny fossil in my forceps and looking through my magnifying glass I see that it is the internal mold of a shell, millions of years old…the inner core of the shell. As I imagine the fossil’s seashore, I recall all the many happy times walking along the shore with my family looking for whatever of interest had washed ashore. The shells from those sun-filled days are now in a jar decorating a shelf in my home. And every time I see the shells I remember the feel of the waves as they crashed uncompromisingly against my legs, the sand slipping away from under my feet as the water returned to the ocean. I remember walking the narrow strip between the infinite ocean and the particularity of the sand…the sound of the waves, the living waves, that rise and fall…the rhythm of their cycles… And as the spirals of the cycles of my life continue in their rhythm, I wonder if maybe there was something else I have been looking for…perhaps it is the inner core of my life and, perhaps, the need to find again the connection between myself and the infinite.

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A Step in Time I carefully roll over to the side of my bed and reach down to turn the clock so I can see what time it is. 3:24AM. Too bad. I thought that maybe it was closer to 5:00AM. I carefully roll back and adjust my rear on the extra pillow so that my rib doesn’t hurt. The only way I can sleep at all for now. I keep shifting around trying to relax and get comfortable enough to drift off again, but without any luck… I know what I need to do. I slowly move my left foot to the side and let it drop off to the side of the bed…feeling for the edge of the covers…I kick and pull…finally, there…my foot is out from under the covers. I move it back to the top of the bed…exposed to the cold air… I settle back…MawMaw always said we were just alike...we liked to sleep with our feet out of the covers. I would lay there in their giant bed with my feet out, listening to the adults settling in for the night. After mom and dad would get quiet in their room, MawMaw and PawPaw would go to bed. I would hear, "Oh Lordy…!" and "Mercy…!" as their tired old muscles relaxed into their bed. Then it would be quiet, except for the peaceful ticking of the old pendulum clock…the steady pulse…now and then a far off dog barking or a car passing. The old house did its own settling down…having held itself up for yet another day. The white, thin curtains glowed…watchful sentinels…filtering moonlight. Sometimes there would be a very slight, very silent movement…Occasionally a shadow of the window and curtains would materialize on a wall and work its spectral way around my room until it disappeared with the receding sound of a late night passenger on the highway… And as I snuggled down into my sun-dried sheets and covers, I knew that everyone was exactly where they needed to be and everything was alright.

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Candle Light There was a comfortable softness to the long-familiar room as we watched the flames of the candles on our coffee table lighting up just enough…while the shadows, like a supportive audience, gathered around the edges. There were no other lights on in the house. The stereo was softly playing songs of the 1960’s…songs that took us back to our courting days and all the dancing we used to do. And of course there was that first dance…the one where we met…the one where I kept holding her hand between each dance so that nothing could interfere with my dancing every dance with her…the one that changed our lives forever. We didn’t need to say anything as we sat there in our living room holding hands and relaxing into our own special place. We listened to the music and watched the candle light and the memories. And as I sat there, I felt the growing need to ask her. I had to ask, yet again, in spite of the years, in spite of the infirmities, in spite of how long it had been. I had to ask, "Would you like to dance?" And she did and we did…the two of us alone in the candle light dancing as one.

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The Fisherman The fisherman was standing beside the small, man-made lake. His line was in the water. I saw him standing still and alone on the shore, but I figured he was not alone…he was with the memories of his father. The young boy watching and learning and then finding himself a man, surrounded by the nuances of past times, carrying it forward. I can remember my own silent and special, shared moments. The living warmth of the water’s edge, the sound of red-winged blackbirds, a cicada droning, the dragon fly flitting and then landing to survey the liquid, cloud reflecting surface, the smell of all the forms of life in all its stages and cycles. My father standing in patient intensity…his relaxed and peaceful concentration on the floating bobber that can signal contact with the unknown in the depths below the surface…the unrelenting surface beyond which we cannot see. We seldom talked. Just being there together was good enough for us…the three of us…he and I and the river. The undercurrent of time has carried away any opportunities, now, for me to join him again on this side of the river. Maybe as I watch my line that sinks into the unseen depths, the depths that go below the surface of life, I will get a bite…just a little nibble…from the other side. But if not, that is ok. It is enough to know that on the other side of that surface, life goes on, and he is there, and I am patiently waiting, because being there together is what matters.

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Sunni’s Goodbye We have wind chimes in the backyard. They have a pleasant, deep, natural sound that we enjoy if the wind is not too high. There are times when the wind chimes are playing soft and easy that I always think about Sunni’s goodbye and then the scene and feeling shifts from whatever is going on to that special moment which comes unbidden to mind. Sunni was a Golden Retriever and a close and personal friend. She taught me how to enjoy taking walks around the neighborhood for my mental and physical health as well as hers. She never had much to say and she was a good listener. We had a particular vacant lot that we would go to that had the remains of an old homestead in the form of some old elms and pecan trees on the corner of a small portion of an old cotton field. I refer to it as "Sunni’s Meadow." There came a time when Sunni was older that she quickly began to decline. It was some type of kidney thing. She became very weak and we would barely be able to go to Sunni’s Meadow and I would have to frequently let her lay down and rest. And then it got to the point that she could no longer take walks and she became so weak she could not get around at all…there was no way to stop the decline and we saw that we had to have her put to sleep. The vet was called and arrangements were made. While my wife was getting things ready for us to go, I carried Sunni out into the backyard and laid her down near our patio and I sat down cross legged in front of her on the grass. She was too weak to even hold her head up. The day was pleasantly warm and sunny and there was a light breeze. The wind chimes played a soft song as I looked at my friend with sadness in my heart and the guilt that ones feels in the inability to communicate your feelings and the nature of what must be done and why. I hated that I was going to have to do what I had to do. Suddenly, Sunni raised her head and started struggling to her feet. She gathered every ounce of energy at her command and raised herself to a full sitting position on her haunches, facing directly at me, her face even with mine, sitting tall and erect. And she looked my straight in the eyes with an intense and personal, soul-to-soul look like I have never experienced before or since. And then the wordless communication…"It is ok, don’t feel bad, this needs to be done, and I am ready…Goodbye." Then she plopped back down and became just an old, sick dog again, exhausted from her effort. She laid her head down in the grass and was never able to raise it again. We carried her to the car and laid her in the back. We drove to the vet. He took her worn out old body and plopped her without consideration on a hard, metal table…angry at himself for not being able to save her, he inserted the syringe that quickly released her soul as I held her foot. We buried her cremated body in the yard with our other deceased pets. I am writing this many years after the event, and it is the first time I have said anything about it to anyone.

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The Death of the White-winged Dove Our backyard is a place of solace, or at least I have heard that said by a few who have looked out our kitchen window. More than a few others have said it is pretty…all of which rather amuses me as well as pleases me, since I mostly just try to maintain a balance between the cultured and the wild. Part of the wild involves providing birdseed and water for the birds and an occasional squirrel. Among our frequent visitors are a growing number of white-winged doves. Since they had previously not been very common, and they are neat birds that I like a lot, their increase in numbers has been something I have been glad to see. However, unexpectedly this morning, while mowing grass and while preoccupied with whether or not it was worth the trouble to mow the grass at the end of September, I realized I was looking at a dead white-winged dove, lying right there in front of me. I looked him over and I could see no injury. He was lying there on his stomach, his wings partially open, as if he had been in the midst of going somewhere. His head was turned a little to the side… maybe to get a little more comfortable…his eyes were closed. I considered what could have brought him to this pass…possibly parasites, possibly he was struck a blow by a passing car and managed to make it to my yard before he had to succumb to his internal injuries. Maybe my yard had come to mean something dear and comfortable to him…his home after a fashion, and he had made his injured way home to die. Who knows what or where his real home was or where all he had flown, the paths he had followed before showing up on my doorstep. Like the hired man in the poem by Robert Frost, he had found his way to the place that felt the most like home when it came his time to come to the end of his story. A need we all have…to find our way, at the end of the day, to a place of solace.

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Tic Marks Recently I have been getting more and more junk mail trying to get me to come to seminars on retirement or that offer to help me work my way through the Medicare maze. This junk mail is addressed to me personally, rather than the usual "current resident." I guess it is just that age thing…the stages in your life, like the tic marks on a ruler, marking it off so you can know where you are and get the measure of things. As I get older, I notice the finer points of these stages. It’s funny the way the beginnings of things have a hidden and seldom considered counterpart which is the ending of the same beginnings: the first day of school and the last day of work, the first time you successfully did a forward one and a half summersault off the diving board and the last time you successfully did that, the first time you drove a car and the last. Tic marks on your lifeline. The lifeline that seems to curve around to meet-end-to-end like a Mobius strip… so that when you come back around to the where the beginning and the end meet, it is not the same place at all. So it seems we need the tic marks to distinguish things. After all, what use is a ruler without tic marks? The answer came to me in the form of a visual memory. I remembered yesterday when I was stopped at a traffic light on the way home from work. I looked over to watch a flock of black birds flying in to settle down to roost in a couple of trees. Each bird was a distinct individual, completely independent, capable of flying alone wherever they chose to go. Yet they flew in beautiful, coordinated patterns, moving shapes with clear, yet fluid, boundaries…grouping and ungrouping, following intuition and impulses. They were enjoying life, the exquisiteness of flight, and the simple pleasures of being themselves. They did this while still pursuing the value of cohesiveness and while still pursuing the goal of settling down on their own spot on their own particular branch or telephone wire…to settle down to rest among family and friends and strangers. And then the light changed, and I drove on to my home.

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Kulijah Was a Friend of Mine The Standing People, as the Native Americans referred to trees, are a special group among my circle of friends. It may have started when I met the old Cottonwood tree my mother knew down the road from where she grew up. And there have been other specific individuals I would go visit over the years, both with and without names. Then when my family and I moved into our first and last house, I was glad to discover a relative of my mother’s Cottonwood tree only a few blocks from our house. Kulijah was old and gnarled when I first met him 30 years ago. The cracks in his bark were a good three inches deep and I would not have been able to reach my arms around more than a third of the way around his girth if I had tried…so he had seen many winters. When I would walk my dog past Kulijah we would always stop so I could say hello and pat his bark. And I would wait until the cars passed by on the road so I could hear the pleasant rustling of his leaves whispering in my ears. As I watched his aging through the seasons in symphony with my own, I was always glad to see his fresh new leaves in the Spring…to see that we were still there together for another year. But lately I had grown concerned when some of his limbs failed to produce new leaves and someone would cut those limbs off. And there were other leaf-less limbs whose gaunt arms reached to no avail. I figured it was probably borers that had weakened him. But still--his inner core was alive and well, as was my own with my similar losses. But today I discovered that a greater threat has finally gotten my friend. The darkly hooded Improvements and Progress has come with its scythe and slammed him down, has ignominiously thrown him on his face, and has left his roots now reaching obscenely for the sky. Passing by in the midst of yellow Caterpillers, mud, scattered storm drain conduits, and the slow/stop sign-wielders I have had to make do with no ceremony. So…Kulijah my friend, I will miss you and whenever I see Cottonwood trees standing in their magnificence and when I hear the Cottonwood song, I will think of you. And I can only hope that, when I am gone, the breeze moving through the leaves of the silent places will whisper my name and that the shadow of a lone man walking will be seen to pass among the dappled sunlight in the hidden groves.

Originally published in American Review Lifestyle Journal, Vol.1 , 2008.

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Remnants As we were ending the last real visit with my mother, I turned on the porch to look back, and my mother gathered her strength, smiled and waved goodbye to me. When I returned to see her, about a week later, everything looked pretty much the same except something vital was missing in the hard to recognize body that was wearing mother's pajamas. It was like the remnants of a spring thunderstorm...evidence of the storm everywhere, the water glistening on every blade of grass, dripping from the leaves of trees, and running in rivulets into pools and streams. The atmosphere, charged with the aftermath of lightning, holding the silence of the rolling thunder, which had rolled away beyond all hearing. As time goes by the rain will have soaked into the earth to return as green plants and wildflowers... pushing up to bask in the sun. Especially the Bluebonnets. The Bluebonnets that are perpetually reflected in her painting that hangs in a place of honor in my home.

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About the Author

Clyde Grauke is an artist, photographer, and writer who is a 5th generation Texas. He was raised in West Texas. He lives with his wife in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area of Texas. His visual emphasis and poetic skills are displayed in these non-fiction short stories which provide biographic snippets of meaningful events in his life. To see more of his art, photography, and literary works, visit: http://clydegrauke.imagekind.com http://clydes-corner.blogspot.com

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Arroyos, vol. 1