To my dearest Forrest,
And here it ends.
And here it begins.
I leave you in the arms of another mountain. Listen, if I may ask, for a moment to me. And then to the mountains. The rush of her rivers. The hush of her winds. You will never be alone. Let her embrace you.
This mountain, your mountain, a grand mountain indeed. She will always be there for you. She is yours. You chose her. Turn to her when you need to. She will listen. Some days she will shed tears of freezing rain or hail as your heart opens and breaks and mends. Other days she will enwrap you in her bliss with warm lazy sun to allow you a brief repose, or soft deep powder and invite you like a tempting muse to come and play. Enjoy it all; she has so much to give.
You found her. I see who you have chosen as your own for the first time and she has taken my breath away. She dwarfs our dear San Juans and the entire state of Colorado and the most dramatic mountains we have intimately known and lived on to date. And now, she is yours. She has lured you. And she has earned you, you wonderful and true child of the mountains.
You chose her. How brave and mighty! Do you see how you have grown? Perhaps I did not really see until now, until I turned one more curve in the road of these last two weeks driving together to be here, and there she is before us, grand and mighty and eternal, still and calm and old and wise, and my heart beats faster for her beauty is profound and she feels so right.
I am proud of you. Incredibly proud. You are a brave and bold (though quiet) sort. Your wild child side is strong!
You have earned your place here; you are worthy of your next great stage in life, the next opportunities, challenges and adventures. I watch this tall bright fine man standing next to me speaking for himself and I shine with such delight and honor. On one hand, I can say eighteen years of work paid off. This job is complete. And yet, I know parenting is never complete. It only changes and evolves. I guess I’m enjoying our evolving relationship as I am enjoying you as a growing man.
Everything changes. We do all we can to make change positive. This, my bud, is a dream come true. A wonderful, positive, beautiful dream.
To this mountain I now give you. I will leave you here. That is the hardest thing I have ever said.
For four years she will hold, include, support and nurture you. Accept her embrace. Revel in her fresh waters and unending views and powerful presence of jutting slopes, and delicate array of swaying wild grasses with jewels of seed heads ripening to full blossom in their short growing season that you understand so well. Remember to take time to notice the little things, the simple things, the quiet voices of the mountain you’ll hear only when you’re alone with her, quiet and still, touching and listening. Find a new rock to sit on, your place, a place to allow you to look within. Turn to her when you need the comfort that only the mountains can allow, only a mother, our mother, the mother of us all, Mother Earth.
And then I, your mother of this earth, shall turn her back to hide the tears as she steps into the truck and turns back to a home that is no longer hers. One we built together, for each other. I never meant to bring you this far only to leave you in a foreign land two thousand miles away. I shall keep our family together and shall be closer soon.
In the meanwhile, learn, study, grow, live, play, work, and enjoy all the wonder and beauty and richness that life has to offer and still thirst for more.
May her rivers never go dry, and may your thirst never be completely quenched so that you may always be open for more.
I can say no more. This is not good bye. You know I hate good byes.
And so I leave you to this mountain. But I leave you not in heart and soul.
I love you.