Footprints in the Sand

Picture by Suzanne Long

Picture by Suzanne Long

As I walk along this road called life, there are many places and people to see, so many eyes looking back at me that I wonder at the road-marks I make. Will they stand the test of time, hold up for others to see or will they be washed away like footprints on the apron of the sea. (There’s a song in there somewhere I just can’t remember the actual lyrics or group name. 1960’s, I think)

I’m sorry for the crickets and dusty tumbleweeds lately. Dealing with a sick parent has a tendency to wring the creative juices right out a person and I fear I am no different. I described my writing to fellow workshop teacher and novelist, Phil Dwyer, as trying to eat when you are full, or just not feeling it; “pushing the peas around the plate”. A feeling I’m sure he is all too familiar with, having travelled this road recently.

That’s exactly how I feel about everything right now, cold peas. All my reserves are directed towards a strong front, of creating a stable and positive wake for my family as I bear the brunt of the waves.

But each wave, each call from my sister or visit with my dad and brother, tears a chunk out of the hull. Fine cracks are starting to form.

I have always had the mentality that mind over matter will prevail. That if I stay positive, try to see the ups and skip over the downs, I can sway things to be the way I want them to be. If I see something wrong, I want to fix it. No, that’s not true, I NEED to fix it. My wife says I have a superhero mentality minus the cape.

I stay strong with the hope that my mom can leach some of that strength from me and use it herself, after-all, she raised me right? They created this monster, her and dad.

So I watch and I wait. I fill the air around her with soft words of encouragement, I hold her hand and hope some of my strength, hell she can have all of it if she needs, holds her here, fills her with the need to get better and the idea that she can do it regardless.

I am the breakwater, the rock against the pounding of the sea. My dad is… trying. I fear he’s like Odysseus, tied to the mast of hope as the sirens of despair tear at him. My brother is much the same while my sister is the co-coordinator, the keeper of the map that guides us. She is strong but I can see the cracks she thinks she hides from me. That is why this rock must hold. And hold I will, goddammit, until I’m told definitively otherwise.

And when this rock tucks in for the night I am wrapped in the blanket of my own family. Two apples that haven’t fallen far from the tree and my wife who makes me feel like I am, indeed, that superhero; who, herself, bears the scars of this journey two-fold.

On the edge of sleep I am filled with a cold fear. Not of the footprints under my feet, but for the ones behind me and the ones that, may or may not be ahead, that the sea will wash them away without a trace.

I wish I could write with the eloquence of some of my peers like Ruth Walker, Sue Reynolds, Dorothea Helms or that I had a modicum of the poetic blood that fills the veins and words of James Dewar, but this will have to do. My own footprints, if you will.

Thank-you, dear readers, for your patience. Whatever the outcome, I will return with more Author’s Voice and more updates. Until then please feel free to catch up on old posts, visit some of my friends and invite others. The voices of many fill my heart and fuel my muse. Must be the East Coaster in me. I’ll bring the Screech and my Penny Whistle and  you bring the Bodhran, we’ll make it a regular kitchen party, we will.

Stay where you’re to til I comes where your at.

North Beach Newfoundland By Suzanne Long

South Beach Newfoundland By Suzanne Long

About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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4 Responses to Footprints in the Sand

  1. What a lovely, heart-wrenching bit of writing, Dale. Who says you are in a place where the words won’t come? Sometimes I think my best writing has not been fiction but those pieces of a similar vein when I wrote from the heart about family I loved to love and hated to lose. All good thoughts are coming at you, Dale. Be strong.

  2. Diane Dooley says:

    You *will* hold. And the writing, the blog and your writing friends will be here when you return. *hugs*

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