Sunday, July 13, 2014
Last night Dad and I and Uncle Jim and Angie arrived in Hood River, Oregon to begin the part of our vacation that is so full of reminders of your last one with us. The sun was setting as we meandered along the I-84 following the flow of vehicles on the twisting and turning freeway that hugs the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. The evening sky was an incredible mix of orange and pink and the steep gorge landscape provided a dark silhouette that enhanced the beauty tenfold. I was lost in the beauty of the magnificent sky knowing that our long drive would soon be done when Mt. Hood majestically appeared in front of us. Earlier in our drive along the Washington interstate the peaks of Mt Rainier and Mt Adams were faintly visible in the distance and because they were distant they reminded me of an Ansel Adams photo where the peaks become less and less visible as they are further and further away. It seems nothing can prepare me for the in-your-face beauty and immediate flood of memories of what you described as the “funnest” place on earth each time I see Mt Hood stretch up to the sky. I remember vividly that same feeling when we drove to Hood River last summer though the sting didn’t stay as long. While planning our summer vacation I wondered if seeing Mt Hood again would conjure up tears and the same feelings…. and what I can say now is that it still did indeed take my breath away all the while stacking up another bittersweet in the string of memories that are so precious to me now; memories that I will hold onto until my final moments in this life.
We will spend a week here enjoying what this play place has to offer – windsurfing for Dad, some biking for the two of us, “ball” time with Finn, nice dinners in and out and relaxing in the heart of this funky, “feel good” town. In a week we will head west to Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast — a place that also holds special memories for us. Last summer we’d planned to also visit there but abruptly had to head home when we learned that Ben was ill and in the hospital. In hindsight adding a trip to the first and only place you saw the ocean may have been too much to endure. Coming back this year seems a bit easier and though I remember looking forward to seeing Cannon Beach last summer, it seems my heart will be able to better tolerate the first déjà vu feelings of being in that special place we visited in what unbeknownst to us at the time would be your last.
But for now, Will, I will savor my time here in Hood River with Dad and your Uncle Jim and Angie. The four of us (and Finn) will make new stories and share old ones. Dad and I will tell them of the summer fun you had skiing on the glacier and of the look of awe on your face when you first saw the vastness of the Pacific Ocean at Cannon Beach. And, of course, we will miss everything about you.
I love you, little blue. Bigger than a bus and more than how much you loved skiing on Mt Hood. Watch over us and laugh with us, Willy. And please comfort me in my quiet times when I am missing you too much to hold back my tears.