Bottle of Hope: a True Story

I was in the vast wilderness area southeast of Tower, Minnesota. I had left the hiking trail to try to get a picture of a grouse drumming, and became hopelessly lost. I did the one thing they tell you to never do if you get lost: I panicked.

I began loping through the woods, certain the trail was just ahead; it wasn’t. I ran around for hours, most likely in circles, until I was exhausted. Finally, I sat down on a rock, and cussed myself out. I had lost hope.

Tears came to my eyes, but then, through the shimmering tears, I caught a glimpse of something glinting in the late afternoon sun. I wiped my eyes, and made my way toward it. It was a brown beer bottle just laying on the ground, like someone had just thrown it there.

Hope came flooding back in, and I walked a spiral pattern around it. Sure enough, I found the trail not far away. I was going home, after all. But not before I went back, and grabbed my symbol of hope.

I later found out that the bottle was pre prohibition–it was over a hundred years old! Did it lay on the ground for a hundred years, just waiting to give me hope? I wondered.

Today it sits on my mantle as a symbol of hope, alongside my Rodeo Soda bottle, but that’s another story…

–photo by me

mask wise

we took off our

masks yesterday

we thought we’d

see each other’s

old faces again

but something

had happened

to us during

that time of

no expressions

we had aquired

a new ability

a new skill

only now could

we see another

underlying mask

that we all had

been wearing

all along–

we had become

mask wise

cows in heaven

i remember that when i was a young boy, my mother would drive our station wagon out to the country on our way back from church on sundays, and pull over on the backroads beside cow pastures. she’d get out of the car and start calling out, “come, boss, come boss.”

i still don’t know if was those special words, or the sound of my mom’s voice, or if she had some kind of affinity with cows, having been raised on a farm, but they always came to the fence, all of them, every time.

we would feed them handfuls of grass from the ditch.

i just hope there’s cows in heaven so my mom can still call them.