A dense carpet of soft brown needles becomes my resting place,
as the sound of rushing of wind sways the tops of tall evergreens
and the fragrance of fresh pine fills my senses.
I watch an eagle circle and then swoop to catch its prey.
I envy the freedom of the bird.
Content to ride the wind and fill its belly, it soars through the sky
oblivious to the pressing sorrows of man.
It isn’t crushed by pain and loss or torn apart by brutal grief.
And I wonder
Are seasons of ecstasy worth the wretched horror
of watching it ripped so callously from my hands?
Would it not be far better to never have known love at all?
Than to experience the heights of bliss only to be
plunged into the deep, dark, depths of despair when bliss is lost?
Who created man and gave him the capacity for this dichotomy of emotions?
What god produces beauty and places it into our hands
and yet is impotent to preserve and protect it?
Is he merely a cruel puppet master who plays with our destinies and laughs at our pain?
I am convinced that this pathetic, devastating, yearning for something that will never again be mine, is going to drive me to my grave.
And yet, perhaps, the grave would be kinder.
Yes, the oblivion of death would be a welcome respite.
The thought gives me comfort.
It sounds far better than waking up each wretched morning to remember she is gone!
Maybe death is more than eternal sleep.
Don’t those who have gone before us wait to cheer us on
as we cross the threshold from our world into theirs?
If I joined her in death, would I find her waiting for me there?
Does she now long for me there, as I long for her here?
Does she cry out for me across the great chasm that has been fixed between us?
If I listen I am quite sure I can hear her voice.
The sweet sound awakens my soul.
And I rise to find her.
There are no longer pine needles beneath me but some ethereal substance
that pushes my feet with its anxious prodding.
I begin to pant.
Running, searching, following the sweet sound of her voice that lights a fire in my chest.
“For love is strong as death” I shout raising a fist in the air.
So many times I have used those words from our wedding vows
in a desperate attempt to persuade her to return to me.
To convince her that death cannot have the final word in a love so sweet as ours.
I see movement in the distance.
It is a woman. It must be my love!
She wears the filmy white sheath that my Itzel wore on the night that our vows were sealed.
It is her! I know the raven tresses that fall below her waist and glimmer in the sun.
My Mayan princess!
Weaving in and out of the willows, she bends her head toward me.
Her mahogany eyes inviting me into her hiding place.
I rush toward her like a madman.
I am breathless when I reach her.
And pull her toward me roughly and lose myself in the fragrance of her cinnamon skin.
“Itzel! I have found you! I am never letting go!”
She looks into my eyes, her own eyes brimming
with the same tears of joy that flow like a river down my face and neck.
She runs her fingers through my hair, runs her lips along the bone of my cheek
and presses her warm body against my own.
I hold her tightly willing her to become part of me.
But then the earth,
Begins to shake and tremble and loosens my grasp on her.
I see her reaching toward me in desperation, as the ground between us splits and widens,
Until once again a great impassable gulf separates us and she fades away into the shadows.
My desperation echoes across the dark canyon without response.