Reunion Number Seventeen Poem by Bill Galvin

Reunion Number Seventeen

Mount Diablo State Park, CA; Juniper Camp

Well, Babe, I finally made it to Mount Diablo;
Came up here with Michael and your sister, Denise.
We gained a new admiration for your courage
Driving up this precipitous road alone
In your old, high mileage, ’72 Corolla,
And living up here for a week back in ‘78.
This makes Mount Cadillac summit road in Maine
Seem like a mere hill.
But I can see how the serenity and remoteness
Of this mountain island standing 3800’ above
A densely populated area of central CA
Would have appealed to you.

Last night I read aloud a couple of your loving letters
That you composed in a campground here,
And mailed clear across that Great Divide,
Back to me in Massachusetts,
As we both searched for separate identities,
Only to find, oh so thankfully,3 years later,
That we were meant to be together, bonded,
Heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul, fate-to-fate, for life.

I miss you so much.
The thought of your being here early in our life,
On your own, brings me comfort, but also dismay,
because I didn’t hold you tightly enough back then.
I needed space and time, and you decided,
Correctly, to move onward.
I gambled and could have lost in a big way.
But, because you were capable of great love,
And your character of such honor and virtue,
You were still there when I awakened.
I am so glad we were able to discuss and resolve
That confusing period in our life together;
That time when we thought we were apart,
But we really could never be separate.
You knew it, of course; it just took me a while.

Your journal of letters home spoke of the great sights
You encountered; and of great love you held for me.
Our long-distance phone calls
Meant a lot to each of us.
We began as lovers; but, became trusted friends;
And finally, fell in love again as soul-mates;
And married in ’83.
Our journey continued.

I’m glad I got to tell you
That you were the best thing to ever happen to me.
I’m glad, before you left this plane,
I got to thank you for waiting for me back then;
For being there for me, as painful as it was for you.
I’m glad I got to apologize
For immaturity, for stubbornness, for not trusting,
For not believing, for sheer stupidity.
I’m glad you cried with me, and told me
You thanked God for every day we were together.

You looked down toward San Francisco Bay
Right from this very spot.
Your presence is felt deeply here this day.
It's hazy today. Can’t see the Golden Gate Bridge.
Not the views you portrayed in your letters back in ’78,
When you had great weather in May.
But the ladybug beetles you mentioned are still here,
And pesky, like you described.

The summit is overcrowded with visitors,
And the privacy we’d want is not possible,
So we move on down the road a tad
To the campground you stayed at; still high at 3000’.
The camp has a high sheltering hillside to the east,
With poppies blooming among the grassland;
And a downslope view of the Bay Area to the west
With chaparral of coastal sage scrub as a buffer.

This is the first time someone else participated
In placing your spiritual essence with me.
All camp sites this early season day are empty.
Your sister and I select a nice site
That we expect you would have liked;
And we walk a bit downhill thru the sage scrub,
To where an opening is sunlit and inviting.
With a great view of sunsets all year long,
(as you described in your letters) ,
She and I bury a pinch of your beautiful locks,
And lay two small branches of dried Digger Pine
(you sent me a huge cone from that type tree)
In the form of a cross over the spot.

A respectful silence follows;
Then a tear or two grieving your absence.

We feel very close to you this day;
Peering into the past thru your writings,
We are both so sad and so happy.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: love and loss
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