The other area I really liked was on this longer drive. In between Kite Point and Tom's Grave was this beautiful large circle of oaks on the top of a golden grassy hillside. I liked to think of it as the Special Grove. I mentioned this to Paul. He said it really was a special place, Mom liked it a lot – it was one of her favorites. Later, when I asked her what she called it she looked perplexed for a moment and mentioned it reminded her of druids, since standing inside made you feel like you should be wearing ceremonial robes and sacrificing something. So now, in my mind I think of this as Druid's Grove. It really did carry its own sort of magic in an aura that shined. It felt majestic, radiating powerful energy as its natural state.
Right near there we visited Tom. If I could meet any person who was dead I would meet Tom. Not Einstein, or Cleopatra, or Socrates or Plato, or Picasso, or Wolfe, or Shakespeare, or George Eliot. I’d meet him. There are several reasons. But mainly because I miss him and I never met him. And that’s sort of unfair.
It’s really murky here. How can I say I miss Tom when I never met him? How right is it for me to have memories of situations and characteristics of someone I’ve never met? Does it do them disservice by not really knowing them, remembering them the way that I decided to or the particular way I conjured them up in my head from stories and memories of others, intonations, inflections, body language, unspoken connections, and tears shed? Or, since people who die only live on in them memories of others, do I do them more service by remembering them as others portray them.
Regardless of what’s right and proper and the best, Tom lives in my heart through Mom and Paul. He lives there, with a real weight to him, his breathes and smiles and loves his ranch and Paul and Mom in my heart. And I shake his weathered hand and call him Sir when I first meet him. I look forward to him seeing Paul and maybe giving him a hug. He sits in his chair, petting one of the dogs in the living room of the house, and tells me about the ranch. And I smile and feel his awesome unique beauty as a singular person that was like none other. And hope maybe by the end of the visit he’ll let me hug him. He lives in my heart and I have to tell him – Tom, I love your ranch and the love you gave it seeped into the soil. Thank you for being there for Mom and Paul. Thank you for being who you were. I’m sorry I never got to meet you, but I’ll keep you in my heart for the rest of my life. So you’ll live on a bit longer down here.
So through memories of a man I never met, over Kite Point, and through the valleys, to the WO sign on back to the house, which I want to call the “homestead”. We get out and I think - I had visited seen wild pigs, vistas more beautiful than literally any I believe I’ve seen before, and a truly bright blue sky. Oh – and dust. I experienced more dust that trip than I have since Kansas in the dry hot summer, where air was ½ oxygen and ½ dust. I had seen thick woods, Tan Oaks, awesome trees that were peeling and creeping and twisting about.
I was home.