“To infinity and beyond…”

This phrase, “ to infinity and beyond, “ was spoken with the recognizable voice of Tim Allen, who played the character of “Buzz Lightyear,” in the Disney/Pixar cartoon, “Toy Story. “

He was a lovable space man , that had quirky and expressive eyebrows. He believed in himself, and his abilities to fly, and activate his laser beams. He exuded confidence all over the place .

Buzz was somewhat of a nemesis to “Woody,” the character, who kinda believed he was the favorite toy, and put himself in charge of the other toys. He saw himself as sensible, and was the self appointed leader . Buzz annoyed him, just because He was fearless, and a new choice by the child who owned the toys, Andy. Woody did not like sharing the toy space with Buzz. Buzz cramped his style, and it seemed that Woody was jealous of Buzz’s demeanor. He was unsettled by him, and was not afraid to let Buzz know .

Before taking off to fly with the wings that were fastened to his back, Buzz would say these words, “ to infinity and beyond..”. Then he would leap … not knowing where he would truly land, he leapt forward anyhow. Buzz had faith .

Some might see him as a simpleton, and unaware of his inabilities, but to me he is an encouraging character who believed that anything was possible . He didn’t know what he didn’t know, and he was not bothered by these unknown facts.

Woody was annoyed by this, and wanted to set Buzz straight. Woody was threatened by Buzz.

When my sons were young they loved to watch Toy Story. I loved to watch it with them . We would make a big big bowl of hot buttered popcorn, grab some apple juice, spread a blanket out onto the carpeted floor, and the movie watching festivities would commence.

A favorite outing was heading out the door to “Toys R Us“. Both of them picked out their favorite character from Toy Story. Zach wanted Woody, and Logan wanted Buzz. As soon as we got out of the forest green colored van at home , Zach was convinced that Woody too could fly.

He tossed Woody as sky high as he could, and of course Woody came crashing back down to the hard pavement , and must have broken his voice box, because he never spoke again .

Zach was upset.. understandably so . He wanted a new “ Woody.” Being the mean Mum that I am, I said, “ no.” I explained to him that he now had to be Woody’s voice .. we had watched the movie so often that he had memorized Woody’s lines.

He looked at me with a perplexed pout on his adorable face, gaging whether or not I would cave, and go back to the Toy store. He must have realized we were not, and he accepted his now mute character. It seemed as if he cared more about Woody, and his limitations. He accepted the situation.

Logan was watching what had just happened, and decided he would not test out the flying experiment with Buzz. In his mind, I believe, Buzz could really fly, but if put to the actual test, he didn’t want his theory ruined.. so he did not dare to fly. Better to keep Buzz safe. He learned from his brother’s experiment, and instead imagined he could fly .

This all came back to me this am, as I sat on the dock, and played with a thin rope that was attached to a boat ring.

Almost without realizing what I was doing, I created the “ infinity” symbol with the rope.

I said the words again…” to infinity and beyond,”

I will love her for that long.. eternity and infinity. It is all wrapped up into one longing hug, and craving to be reunited again.

She would be 23 years old today. How is that even possible, and yet it is .

Happy 23rd birthday my darling Angel girl.. Mummy loves you, and misses your smile that lit up my life …

Sitting in the remembering, and fascinated with the texture of her that is woven throughout this place. Not only her, but also Mum and Dad. Where they have walked, and moved in their wheelchairs. The stories and experiences that were shared within these hallowed wood clad walls.

The scent of old wood fire permeates this space, and the stone fireplace stands tall and at attention, a testament, and recorder of life. It will not be moved, unless someone takes it down stone by stone, or with a wrecking ball. With each rock placed and held by cement it is the promise of all of us together . We are apart of these stones..

I decided to construct a “ Memory garden,” up here at the lakeside. There had been a rough hewn wooden crossed placed here after Dad had passed, I believe 14 years ago now.. wow… that long, and yet short, all wrapped up together.

The cross sits looking out upon the cool lake where Dad loved to swim . Mum did not go in the water very much, but kept busy dockside, sweeping dried pine needles from the steps, pulling weeds, or taking a sit in the “Muskoka chairs” on the dock.

Bianca loved to ride in Grandpa’s boat. She also adored the water, but screeched when I put her into the lake, because it chilled her gentle little frame, and yet she loved to be immersed in it. Bianca enjoyed the boat too … the faster the better. Dad loved to swim…he spent much time floating life away at the cottage, but also enjoyed putting the throttle down in the boat, with a huge grin of satisfaction that turned up the corners of his mouth.

I love to swim too. There is something about clear, crisp, and cool lake water that calms my soul. I can’t get enough.

The memory garden
There is a yellow rose bush for “goodbye” and a red rose bush for “ love.” A cross to mark the space for Dad, and Mum, and Bianca.

Never really goodbye, because we shall be together again in our lives up ahead… in “infinity and beyond. “. These roses I planted are for them. As I was burying their roots beneath the dark soil, I encountered the roots of a pine tree. It stood tall as a sentinel here in this place of sacred time and space. It has been here for a long time. There is pride in its broad stance, and there is something so right about its roots becoming entwined with the roses as they grow. They will grow together.. I hope.

I did not wear gardening gloves, so I pricked my hands several times with the sharp jagged thorns of the roses. Love hurts, it wounds , it pierces the hands, and leaves scars upon the mind . It is a reminder to me of the power of it, and the risk of loving. You will be hurt, you will bleed. Your heart will be sacrificed on the altar of love. Love demands sacrifice. There is a choice, but if you dare, its the best risk ever.

So much beauty right here. The musky scent of dried pine needles, and old leaves, the air that I so wish I could capture in a bottle, or burn in a lit candle. It intoxicates all of my senses.

The sounds of kids screaming as they leapt off the diving tower, heads bobbing with excitement as they came up . Shouts of jubilation echo off the rocks, and reverberate around the bay. Sounds carries here across the water.

People passing by in canoes chatting away can be heard with ease. I must remember that my words can be heard . Choose words carefully. Be intentional, never careless, because once they leave my tongue, they cannot be unsaid.

Wildflowers still grow, and beauty can be still found in the space that our loved ones were before.

The movement of the water, the gentle flow of it all is calming.

And today… just because.. there she was..watching me from the side of the road, big sultry eyes with wise attentiveness starring me down . An unexpected surprise.

She was camouflaged so intricately that I almost missed her. She was still as she pondered who I was and why I was walking by in her woods. Graceful, and beautiful was she.

A monarch butterfly flew into view. I wished for her to light upon one of the rose blooms. She flew somewhat frantically and erratically from green bush, to branch in search of something. She seemed intent, on what I do not know. Perhaps I will see her again today. I sure hope so.

The tree is bleeding, leaking her sap all over the “ H” that has been nailed to her . Nailed to a tree… wounded for me… thank you Jesus for your sacrifice.. your life. Thank you for loving me, and showing me that love is always worth the pain.. always..

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