Saturday, May 16, 2015

Eyes Wide Open

It usually starts while weaving through some narrow backwoods trail. Or on vacation while running switchbacks of steps. At first, it's mental. Lost in thought, I swing back and forth.

Back, to the time we wished for semblance, a tiny ribbon of normalcy. But the program was our focus and that was fine, because it's what we wanted, what we needed, what we chose.

Back, to the time after the program. Pushing. Pushing. Always pushing for what was possible. Hoping to bring color into the grays of Aviana's life. As months slid into years, the colors shifted. Hazy grays turned black and white. 

One dream seemed simple, a hike through the woods with her in a backpack. We started even smaller though. Around the block we went. This proved impossible. 
Reality was rough. Acceptance, rougher.

When Dave and I, my mom and Gary, or anyone close to us opens these chapters, they end the same, by us individually and collectively agreeing how relieved we are that Aviana is no longer here, no longer suffering.

Forward. Through the forest we go, my legs in full stride. My feet lifting, over rocks, downed trees, uneven surfaces. Crunching over leaves, twigs, and slick surfaces. Side to side and around every bend, the birds sing above, the squirrels dart below. We snap pictures, and talk incessantly about the bent tree that grew around the rock or the one hit by lightening. We admire the varying shades of blue as we hug the water's edge or how the fog settles perfectly within the mountains. And of course, we laugh at Rainey's woodsy antics.

Aviana, Dave, and I were each stripped for so long. Before, a walk on a sun streaked trail was a never. Now it's a luxury. And we feel it. Tahoe has always been sacred but because of Aviana, everything is amplified... whether we're walking out into the crisp air, driving down these familiar streets, taking Rainey for a sunset swim, or when the guy at the auto parts store tells us to catch him next time on our bill... we feel the intensity. Together and separate. She came, gave life, and resides within us. She turned the tiniest things to gold. 

I drift from the three of us to watch the passing adults, kids, and dogs. I know at some point (or many) everybody hurts, so I wonder? Who's taking a leisurely walk through a beautiful forest and who's having a whole other experience? Who's missing a loved one dearly? But since it can't and never will be, instead of resisting, who's leaning in and using this landscape to wrap around and carry them through?

The Flume Trail

It's never easy keeping Rainey still for any sort of hiking pictures.

I can't say I blame her.

Hey, get your little booty back here!

Momma wants a picture.

Oh hello my sweetness!

I may or may not be holding her head.

Eagle Lake

Yep, there's a black dog paddling away in there.

After I carved this Dave said, "Avi Bear everywhere. Up high in the sky...on the groundsomething something...Yeah, we both can't seem to remember, but it was
really good ; )

Ha, that's why you have to write this stuff down!

Emerald Bay from halfway up to Eagle Lake.

Crystal Bay Lookout

I was super excited when an eagle flew by (it may not have been an eagle, but looked big like one).

Complete with imitation, Dave said I looked and acted like Aviana when she used to see a bird.

I loved hearing that.

Dave & Dizzy


Where it all began. 
It seems everywhere we go, we can see the place we got married. When we got to the top of the lookout, we could see the Cal-Neva.

The stare down. 

Two peas...

In a pod ; )

D.L. Bliss to Emerald Bay

How Dave gives Rainey water while we're hiking!

Hey, don't turn your back on me mister!
Yeah, I guess that big blue is a good reason.


  1. These pictures just scream out "the joy in pain, and the pain in joy!" What beauty around you 2 (3). Of course Avi is there too, the beauty around you proves that. I love that you are where you want to be. It must be so sacred to feel Aviana all around you in such beauty, God knew you needed that and gave it to you. Amazing and almost magical what one little girl can do to change so many lives. Avi, you are so loved , at home, in the mountains, at the waters edge and up with the eagles flying high. XOXO
    You two look great, it must be all that fresh air :)
    cindy in nc

    1. It amazes me how you and I are always on the same page. When I read your comments, I feel you understand what my heart is trying to say. As in, even if I can't get my words the exactly the way I want, you know what I'm attempting to convey.

      Thank you Cindy.



  2. I can't believe this is where you live!!! The pictures are so stunning. It is so different from where I live. All the water around me is so muddy. I can't believe how crystal clear the water is there. Amazing.

    You are so articulate. I know what you mean when you say I wonder how many people here are just walking around and how many people are missing someone. I miss my best friend in that way. It can take away or taint the current experience. I have a hard time shopping now, wanting to show her something or ask her opinion. It's hard because it's not the same once you can't share it with the person you want to. But like you said we can lean in and let the current-ness carry us. Thank you!