Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009 @ 5:53 pm
An article in my hometown news rag.
This could have been my grandfather, should have been, except he became too weak to climb these trails, his trails. Instead, he sits in his stair-ridden home, a prisoner of carved Chinese rugs, of small televisions on lace doilys. Instead, Roy was the one to fall.
Roy was the Chairman of the mocha table. The crew of aging mountaineers, so many liver spots and so much hairless skin. A museum's dream collection of ancient equipment. Canvas backpacks and rusted ice axes.
That morning, the crew of gnarled knuckles waited for Roy, the young ones sipping mochas, the old ones sipping hot water.
Roy never arrived.
Instead, Akki and Wendie found him. Not at first though. First, they found a pair of poles on the trail. Who's? Who cares. They stopped to rest for a minute. In an act of happenstance, Aki dropped his toque, and it slid over the edge of the packed-snow trail. He went to retrieve it, and there he found Roy.
Akki and Roy, holding Roy, the tall trees faintly snapping above them. Wind filtering through the heavy, stiff boughs. Roy, as if asleep, cradled in old snow.
Roy should have been Grandpa.