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Uncountable drops clouding and squeezing me tight, as I ponder with wonder of the unknown above me and below and yet to come.

Lonely sets in with uncomfortable ease as is the meek face of a new born wide eyed with astonishment and wanting of womb, with facial expression of fear from detachment of comfort and heart beat from its only known home.

Below distant and loud as salty misty fog groups gather in clumps, they drag themselves passing me up below or could it be I from above whom is ever so lazy crawling from west to east on feathers of life distant and free?

Above, I view an endless sky filled with others like wise and birds of prey screeching their songs of feast, as they climb from far away high in preparation of diving to the crushing Pacific, my tribal cloud darkens heavy as it threatens to besiege the suns rays steaming the sea, the sea with its clusters of algae flouting and swaying while playful mammals appear and disappear as far as the eye can see.

Pungent aquatic aromas overwhelming spaces of essence in the breeze fill the air.

White capped waves, so endless to see, stretching north to south as I gaze in awe and wonderment becoming witness to immense islands of grey and white ever so smoothly disappear into the sea, only to reemerge a short distance away spewing fountains of oceans salted spray upwards at me, they sociably wave in passing, with monstrous yet gentle dorsal fins.

The pounding surf becoming ever so close with audible sound as we approach, sweet songs of pine and visions of green embracing Mother Earth’s strong elders of Oak and Alders of springs, where Father River travels by with ease.

As we arrive from so distant and free our pace slows to a halt above the Fathers Teepee so deep and serene tucked in low valleys of timbers while guarded by boulders and fed by the streams, a kindred remembrance of Old Father River and me.

Cold and hot flashes sear my wet being as drums of thunder collide – then I remember first coming to be – liquid and rain all in one drop, it was from an ash flake thrown into the sea.

I once was a human son, brother and father who found a true love for life, an Irish maiden which fulfilled my being and desires till the end of human living time, she gifted me blooming branches laid end with pride of daughter and son.

Thunder crashing louder and louder now, bright flashes of nature’s energy announcing the arrival of the season filled with clouds, wind thrashing me as I “drop!” through the Old Fathers Teepee headed back to the beginning of the end, where the Wilson River flows known as the Oregon Burns.

Lonesome Wolf howls of grief disturb the hearts soul, as beats of rhythmic anarchy stab incisions once earned as a human, riddled with injuries from life’s imperfections. I smile and feel the joy of care and love my family has for me and I do not weep or fear ever more, nor regret my life here or there, as I bare witness from where I was sent to be.

I now accept that my family and all is fine as I reenact the Great Ones wishes of cycles and recycles which we must surly circum on that day, when time ends.

They fulfilled my living wish, just as I had asked, “On that sure day, spread my ashes onto the Wilson River and valley floor and I will always return to you from my ventures to freshen your morns and eves, for I will wither never more.”

Is it the End or Beginning of me?

~Francisco Vargas Cortez Sr.

Army Veteran living with the aftermath of Agent Orange

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