“If your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously examine your life.” ~ Bill Watterson
When I was a child my knees were green most of the summer. So was the seat of my shorts. My shirt. My hands. I loved being outside. I lived in the mountains. It was considerably cooler there than in Charlotte. Here, and now, I have to take advantage of spring and fall and even winter for my outdoor activities. Today my knees are green. I worked in the yard this morning.
Sometimes, when the summertime heat and humidity become unbearable, I head for the hills. I remember one time a number of years ago when D and I did that. He had asked me what was wrong, that I seemed sad, depressed. I told him it was the heat. I didn’t think I could stand it one more minute. I wanted to be outside. I couldn’t. The temperature had been in the high nineties and even triple digits for at least two weeks. The only way to escape it was to stay inside in the air conditioning. D said, “Let’s go find some cool air.” (He was often so very thoughtful and kind in those days.) We got in the car, turned on the air, of course, and headed north up I-77. We drove until we came to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then we found an old homestead that had been preserved. We got out of the car, walked down a little trail and found a rock wall to sit on. We sat and felt the breezes blowing off the valley.
As we sat, the tears flowed freely down my cheeks. D took my hand, put his arm around me and just held me. I thanked him for taking me up there where I could breathe again. My misery mattered to him and he acted to relieve it. And now the tears flow freely again as I remember. That’s the D I will never stop missing.
I had no idea what direction my writing would take when I sat down. I’m glad I have this sweet memory. And that’s why I write.