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Beyond the Horizon

Posted by johnnieraz on January 12, 2025 at 1:10 AM

By John Rezell

     A clean white monitor glowing before me in the otherwise soft light of an evening slowly brought my world to a complete and utter standstill. Frozen for a moment in time, I found my mind floating in the clouds rather than thrashing in uncharted waters.

     My hands kept a vigil over the keyboard with my fingers delicately caressing the keys in tiny circles, refusing to commit to pushing any of them hard enough for a response. Eventually I looked down, and saw my right hand tremble a bit. I smiled.

     Instead of fear, I felt triumph. Instead of drowning in the turbulent waters, I'm flying above the clouds.

    It's there. I know it.

     I'm struck that this moment doesn't paralyze me. I'm a writer. It's not just what I do. It's who I am. And never in all my years of writing that I can remember -- going all the way back to my first short stories in fourth grade -- have I ever experienced true writer's block. I've never stared at a blank sheet before me, unable to connect words to thoughts.

     My mantra to young writers, from my daughters to reporters who sought my advice, always has been to just write. Let ideas flow. Don't think about it.

     Good writing is, more than anything, the result of good editing. Get an idea down. All the ideas down. Then craft and mold the message.

     On this occasion, however, the words were not the issue. The thoughts were.

     I have a feeling brewing inside of me. It has been churning for days. No, weeks. Maybe more. Something lies beyond that hasn't manifested itself quite yet. It only has offered a glimpse. A hint. It is wonderful, that's all I know.

      The sensation of contentment allows me to lift my eyes from the screen. I begin to look around the my home office.

     Christmas lights hung from the ceiling capture my attention first, bright, colorful and glistening like never before. I dive deeper into their essence. Their message. Each light sparks a memory. Soon my mind is racing as I chase them along the strand, filling my soul to the point of busting, so many grand memories. I love my life.

     The string ends at a new calendar, a black and white photo of Italy introducing me to January while triggering images of a trip there many years ago. I glance around at the photos that grace the wall, displayed in handmade frames I've created from branches, feathers, sea shells and other bits of nature I've collected along the way. I see my daughters in those photos, growing magically before me. I think about our kitchen table, and my daughters, from the first day they left a high chair behind to the first day one chair stood empty, its regular occupant having left for college.

     On and on it goes. Everything around me appears to jump into view, vying for my attention. Begging for a memory. Or two. Or more.

      From the futon that served as my bed years ago in Colorado as I began a new adventure alone, waiting for Debbie to rejoin me in a few months when we would welcome Sierra into our new life as parents, all the way to my Yosemite coffee mug that reminds me each morning of the most magnificent adventure a family could hope for through the summer of 2005, memories appear contained, for safe keeping, in the physical world around me.

     Life. Adventure. Something's out there, beyond the horizon of today. I'm not certain what it is. I only know I can't wait.

     NOTE: The photo above is the Blue Pool, which sits about halfway down the 23-mile McKenzie River Trail. It is considered by many to be the best mountain bike trail in the US and is about an hour's drive from Eugene. This photo is from my first visit to the Blue Pool when my older brother Tom came out from Wisconsin and we rode the trail. We rumbled through the lava fields and suddenly this amazing sight took our breath away. Each time I walk or roll into the woods the anticipation of what might surprise me lightens my heart. It's much like the feeling that overwhelmed me the other night -- one that seems to be hanging with me every where I go these days.

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