Of signpost theft, grief, and a ring

We hot tailed it out of Whitehorse at 9am. It took six hours to get to Watson Lake. The road was good to excellent all the way. The weather was cool and beautiful. As for wildlife, I saw 6 porcupines; three we’re beside the road and alive, while the other three had failed to look both ways before crossing the road. Settlement along the road was sparse. Quite a few abandoned store fronts. The place I got gas was called Johnson’s Crossing. Evidently an historic sight beside the Teslin River bridge. I actually spotted his place as I was passing by and had to turn around to fill up at an “if-y” looking gas pump. Look hard in the first photo and you can find the pump.

A raven swooped in front of our windshield on the other side of the river. It was the first one I had seen in a couple of days, as none appeared in Whitehorse. I should have stopped and taken a shot of the impressive bridge and river at Johnson’s Crossing.

As we were traveling alongside what became Teslin Lake We had to stop so I could take another “Tofu-on-the-table photo.

If you wonder where Tofu is while I’m driving, here’s a couple of her favorite locations. In the washed -out selfie you will notice she’s lying on my hat.

We saw a black bear, but it was moving into the bush before I could get my camera ready. See it?

The mountains were at sort of stand-offish the whole trip. No they were magnificent, but different from others I had seen on the trip. As I thought about it, these mountains appear older than the ones closer to the coast. They are more settled, the sharp edges have been worn off. They remind me of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. Then I say to myself “Dummy, where do you think you Are? You’re in the Canadian Rockies.” And about that time we approached the Continental Divide. I Could tell by the Continental Divide Restaurant, the Continental Divide Grocery Store and the Continental Divide Campground; all closed.

Traveling down the east side of the Rockies, I kept wanting to take a photo, so we stopped and I took these. There’s a washed out bridge in one of them.

See what I mean by the worn down appearance of the mountains? So finally we get to Watson Lake (the town). Here’s our camping spot. Our van is to the right of the white pickup. To the right of the campground is a lake.

There are three lakes along the town. There is Nye Lake One, Nye Lake Two, and Hour Lake. But the town is named for another Lake a couple miles West of here. Go figure.

Now to the signposts. Some First Nation kids that I met on the roof of the library (M.J., Charisse, Cole and Glory) told me “This town has more stolen property than any other place in the world!” Of course they were referring to the Signpost Forest”

Yes thousands of signposts ripped off from towns, cities, streets all around the world.

Which brings me to grief and the ring. Haven’t said much about grieving the last few days. On the way into Whitehorse, I spent a few hours rewriting the words to a song our church folk musicians play. Their song says “There’s someone who stays with you…”. They know the one I mean. I’m not going to tell you the rewrite I did, as it is truly awful ( though heartfelt). Also I did some reworking of Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall.” I’m not giving you those words either, but I think you get the drift.

So by way of these songs I came to some resolve about the ring.

Are you looking at the ring or the chocolate ice cream?

In my bedroom at home, on a chest of drawers that is shoulder high and has about a one foot square top on it, is a brass figurine of a doe. Decades ago Lynnie and I bought one for her mother. We liked it so much we bought one for ourselves. For ten years it has set on the top of this chest by our bedroom door. I wore this wedding ring 49 years 3 months and five days, rarely taking it off. But about five years ago I started playing a drum with the Folk Musicians. So when we’ve been practicing and playing at church, I’ve taken the ring off and left it hanging on the doe’s ear. Sometimes I would pass by it several days before I would remember to put it on.

The week Lynnie died, I took it off to play for the “This is not a Memorial Service”. And I thought, “I’m just going to leave this on the doe’s ear.” After all, the vows say “till death do you part.” So for a couple weeks I kept passing that ring. I Googled about ethics and widowers and what others have done. I found out, there is no “official” way to deal with it. But that ring keeps calling me and finally, I think I’ll put it on a chain around my neck. After a few days of chain-around-the-neck, it’s just too heavy around my neck. I put it back on my finger. I announced to daughter Emily that I was gonna wait and see how I feel after six months or so.

But a couple days ago, while I was rewriting songs I realized, this ring was forged in the bowels of Mordor and I am freakin’ Bilbo Baggins, or Frodo, or even worse… Gollum. This is a ring of power and it is precious to me. It is a shield and a sword and a comfort, my precious. Who knows what it is capable of? I think if it is to leave, someone may have to cut it off my finger, or maybe of its own accord it will choose to fall off or into the hands of another. My resolve is to wear the damn thing for now, and leave it on the doe’s ear when I play the drums.

So there you have it, Signposts, Grief and a ring. Love to you from the town with three Lakes, none of them named Watson. Oh and I forgot to tell you there are loons on the Lake and just after taking the picture of Tofu a loon and a raven flew over our heads in tandem before breaking off from each other. Again, Love.

8 thoughts on “Of signpost theft, grief, and a ring

  1. OK, normally I would have zeroed right in on the chocolate ice cream. But the ring had been foreshadowed in the title. I am glad that the Corvallis signpost could be near North Bend and KFalls and not just by Warren G. Harding. The peaks and valleys in the photos and in the words of the last few paragraphs are vivid, impressive, and awesome in the traditional sense of “awesome” before it came to referred to trivial things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed your humor in this post and was moved by your talk of the ring that represents your life with and love for Lynnie. I am glad you have been able to do your grieving in a way that has been uniquely your way. I like the Signpost Forest although I’m not sure how I feel about the “taking” of all those signs. How fun to see so many from Oregon communities.


  3. John,
    I’ve loved that you could share your journey with us. The ring, I noticed it right away. Yes, I would wear it also, mine ends up on the bird tail at night, but I feel list if I leave home without my symbol of eternal love.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are so open and honest about your feelings – appreciate the sharing! And the photos are wonderful – almost feel like I’m there with you. Quite a journey you are on!

    Liked by 1 person

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