Five years, it’s been. Lisa Ann Sachs, 41 too short years of life, was all she had. My mother, who deserves a tribute on this painstaking anniversary. But how can you write a tribute to someone who can no longer read it?
As we travel and adventure I can’t help but wish life hadn’t been cut short and she, too, could see what I see.
Here’s to you, Mom.
Even though you can’t greet the base of these vast mountains and awe in their valleys, I carry you with me. I mimicked your laugh as I soaked myself in those Tennessee stream crossings. I heard you gasp when my chest slammed in to those jagged rocks when the Georgia clay took my bike. I thought of you as I descended and switched back from Cinnamon Pass. Through the East Oklahoma fairytale forest, I remembered the stories you read me. As we crossed the New Mexico border, I imagined you bragging to your friends, as you always did, about another state crossed.
The roadside yellow brush reminds me of your hair and the Oklahoma blue stones of your eyes. I see your smile as I glide effortlessly through deep forest lanes. Stuck under my bike in a burned Nevada valley, I go back to the ditch you pulled me out of when I crashed my bicycle. I feel your adoration as Han and I watch the dopey armadillo try to cross the road. I heeded your warning as I escaped to shade in Cat Canyon. The view from the vast Utah gap we perched our tent above was almost as beautiful as you.
When the bright red sun set over Patterson Pass I felt the warmth of your hug and when I see that Oregon coast you will fill my heart, my mind, as you always do. Where I go, you go. Through every second of my days, you will be alive.
My tribute to you is my life and the heart wrenching, soul shaking living of it, even when it hurts.