March 13, 2007

Country roads take me home, to the place I belong

Today’s weather forecast called for clear skies, gentle breezes and temperatures in the low seventies. It seemed impossible after the soggy and often snowy weather we’ve endured in Dayton, Ohio this spring, but I believed with a faith born of desperation that the weatherman knew with a certainty what he was talking about.

I woke early in the morning and worked to get my household chores finished as quickly as possible. By eleven o clock the beds were made, the dishes were done and drying in the sink and the sweeper had been run through the downstairs living quarters. The digital camera and tripod I’d received for Christmas were packed into my rucksack and waiting on the table by the front door. I was bound and determined to get out and capture the woodland wilds of my community just as the Wizened Wizard has always shared the natural beauty of her own private reserve with the rest of us.

By eleven-thirty I was on the road and headed towards one of my favorite parks in the entire state of Ohio; Glen Helen. Whenever my soul is in need of revival this is the place that always seems to provide me succor and solace. It is about a thirty minute drive through beautiful farmland and when you drive as I did today with the windows down you can smell the good earth and it is a heady perfume to the soul.

Blue skies and country roads.

The last few months have been rough on the Bauman household. Pregnancy has not been kind to my wife, Felicia and I have not enjoyed watching her go through so many days of pain. When her normally gregarious countenance has not been hidden behind a mask of stoic endurance it has been covered in tears of suffering. Mentally I feel like the marathon runner in the last few miles of the race. There is nothing left in the tank and the only thought remaining in my mind is surviving the ordeal until the finish line.

By the time I pulled into the gravel parking lot of the Glen Helen Reserve I was beginning to feel a state of relaxation I’d not felt in far too many months. I was ready to begin my photographic safari and capture the perfect photo of spring flowers. This was going to be the perfect day.

It wasn’t long before the realization dawned upon me that the woods were still sleeping. Aside from a little moss upon the occasional moist rock or fallen tree the forest was still blanketed in a uniform brown of slumber.

The only flora I saw all day.

Still, the day was beautiful and it felt good to be out in the woods with the sun shining down upon my face and the smell of spring filling my nostrils. As I continued my walk I could feel the stress melting away from my heart and spirit. I felt like something was trying to communicate with me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but it was as if something was whispering in my ear.

There wasn’t another living soul in the woods or so I thought. The only footsteps I heard were my own as I walked along the path of my own spirit quest. When I came upon the bridge I knew that it was something for me to cross alone. Somewhere on the other side understanding waited for me.

The bridge.

The whispering continued and even though I still couldn’t put a name to its source I listened attentively. Now I walked with a purpose. There was something I needed to learn this day. It was then the rock spoke to me. It told me there is a path to a better place through the burdens that sit upon my mind like the weight of the world.

The weight of the world.

The tension in my shoulders began to melt away and I followed the path through the rock. Somehow I knew things were going to be alright and that events were proceeding according to a plan beyond my understanding. My spirit was refreshed and renewed. When I walked around the bend in the path I came face to face with the source of the voice who’d been speaking to me the whole day.

The living waters.

It was the sound of the water that had been whispering to me during my journey through the woods. It was the one thing I could not capture with my camera; the sound of the healing waters washing across the landscape of my soul just as they brought nourishment to the land around me. It was not the image I’d set out to capture, but it was a moment I was glad to have experienced live and in person. I surrendered my worries to the living waters and felt as if I’d placed them into far more competent hands than my own.

Still there was one more truth the day had to share with me. When I came to my journey’s end it was the stone steps that spoke the final words to my spirit and sent me home with a smile upon my face and a song in my heart. The steps told me no matter how daunting the path up the mountain appears there is always one perfect thing waiting for me at the summit.

The hard climb.

It has been too long since I’ve seen you smile without the grimace of pain attached to it. The tears you have shed have been like nails pounded into the fabric of my heart. Watching you suffer through these past few months has been the most difficult task I’ve ever had to endure. Yes, the path to the mountain top has been arduous and difficult at times but the son waiting to join our family will be worth every moment of suffering. I am so grateful for the joy you are about to bring into our lives. You are the most perfect thing I’ve ever known in my life. Thank you and hang in there, angel, the end is in sight.

The one perfect thing.


I apologize for having been away for so long. It has been difficult for me to feel creative during a time when my wife has been going through the travails she has endured to have this baby. Today was a break I desperately needed. Unfortunately, Felicia still has seven weeks to go before she gets a respite. You women are a tough lot. How do you do it?


Anonymous kinga010@hawaii.rr.com said...

Your friends gather here. Surely you know that there is no need to apologize for dedicating your time to this fine, fine thing that you are doing. I've missed you terribly, as I know so many others have, but we can make the tiny sacrifice while you tend to your loves.

Mahalo for bringing us your soul-enriching day. You have captured beauty and joy, and shared the spiritual gifts they brought. Mahalo.

Good to see your lovely bride was able to greet you with a smile. Best to you both as you near the end of an arduous journey with the most precious reward at its finish.

March 14, 2007 2:12 AM  
Blogger Wizened Wizard said...

So good to hear from you! You are missed by many, but we are patiently awaiting the photos of your threesome.

I'm rushing to leave for Burlington so didn't take the necessary time to read and soak up all of your post - will do that late tonight, I hope.

Wonderful pic of Felicia. My best to her!

~ Wiz

March 14, 2007 6:33 AM  
Blogger DNR said...

The Wizened one has taught you well. Your pictures are beautiful, and your story inspiring. I feel the need to rejuvenate my own soul and may follow your lead.

My wife had pre-eclampsia for our first son… I cannot express those days but I believe you understand.

I have missed reading your blog but I know you are about much more important things. God bless you, Felicia and Dirk Jr. If I don’t hear from you again for 7 weeks, I will trust all is well.

March 14, 2007 8:25 AM  
Blogger Craig D said...

I feel for ya, D-Man! It's rough to have an ailing wife and know that there's only so much you can do to help!

Glad you had a refreshing day comuning with nature an' all.

Stop by anytime...

March 14, 2007 8:28 AM  
Blogger Bardouble29 said...

Dirk, I am thrilled to see you pop back out into the neighborhood. The pictures you took are gorgeous, and sounds like it was a great reload to your soul.

You and Felicia are in my thoughts and I hope the next 7 weeks are smooth and the lil one will bring so much joy!

March 14, 2007 8:41 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

It's so good to see you post again Dirk. The blogosphere has been a sad place without you.

Great pictures and story. You and Felicia just hang in there. It won't be long now. All your blog neighbors are here for you too.

March 14, 2007 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh sure, you HAD to make me cry at the end! You are the best and most creative honey ever!


March 14, 2007 9:55 AM  
Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I'm sorry to hear that Felicia is still having problems. But I'm sure she'll do just fine because she (like most women) is tough.

I am very glad that you got a chance to get out and find yourself a little peace and enjoy the warmth of the day. Just think spring, like your baby boy, is just around the corner.

March 14, 2007 10:55 AM  
Blogger Citymouse said...

Welcome back...glad to see you got out!
How do we do it? Who knows? Just be gald you dont have to!

March 14, 2007 11:36 AM  
Blogger Kati said...

Oh, it's good to have you back, Dirk!!!! What beautiful, serene pictures you've posted. I could almost feel your struggles & your footsteps in those pictures, you narrarate so well!

Wishing there was some way to ease Felicia's pain & suffering in these last weeks. Just know that the two of you have my thoughts & best wishes. And, sweety, giving birth ISN'T the end of the pain. The physical pain will linger, though not maybe at the degree it has been. But also, the pain of loving a little one sooooo very much. That little one is now seperate from her, physically, but will always be a part of you, emotionally. And the pain you have the capacity to feel over that child is only starting. Not to say it's not worth it, in the long run, but the pain doesn't end when one gives birth to one's child. And the most exquisite pain will be the absolute love you feel watching your little one sleep at night.

Blessings & best wishes & thoughts & prayers to you & F. as you wait out this last leg of THIS journey.

March 14, 2007 1:49 PM  
Blogger C-dell said...

Hey man there is no need to apologize. I understand your wife needs you and with her going throug . You took some great pictures I can imagine when the forest wakes how beautiful it will be. When you get the chance stop by the blog and leave a comment your commentary is missed at Views of the Silent Majority. Tell your wife stay strong for me.

March 14, 2007 2:20 PM  
Blogger MasterQ said...

Poetic and lyrical, it's always a treat to hear from you. Keep taking care of yours, we'll be here.

March 14, 2007 4:39 PM  
Blogger Em said...

Dirk, it is so good to hear from you! Man, you've been missed. But we all have been patient, knowing you were busy taking care of that lovely wife of yours. Many positive blessings to her for her last few weeks.

And thank you for sharing your photos and your walk. Nature has a perfect way of showing us what we need to see, of telling us what we need to hear, and of giving us peace where none has existed.

March 14, 2007 6:24 PM  
Blogger Crunchy Carpets said...

No apologies....I was just worried about your wife and her pains!

Hang in there both of you!

March 15, 2007 10:28 AM  
Blogger Pepper said...

We (mom and I) are so happy to have you back. I am so sorry to hear about the struggle and pain that your wife is going through. It will be worth it when you and your wife first see your son. It is an amazing experience and the pain is washed away.

As always your posts are beautiful and truthful.

I love your photographs. We are looking forward to your first picture of your son.

March 16, 2007 11:05 AM  

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