With tears hiding behind lonely eyes, you delude yourself into thinking, “I have it all.”
Then one-day YOUR earthquake shakes your world loose. Much of what you cherished is lost or destroyed. You realize you are alone.
Ray Mellon had a beautiful, loving wife, a thriving company, then one day she was gone, and his business lost its luster.
Unbearable grief and loneliness, Ray sold his business and left everything to be alone.
The Morning’s coldness bit when Ray’s feet hit the floor. Today’s goal as was every day’s: get dressed as quickly as possible, make a fire in the cast iron stove and brew a pot of coffee.
By the time, Ray was ready for his morning ritual the sun had started to peak through the window.
Ray left the house for the fall morning coolness. The sun casting its golden light against the backdrop of a clear blue sky; The weatherman predicted that the temperatures would reach the low 50’s today. The expectation was for a mild sunny autumn day.
Suppressing the sad rumbles streaming through his mind, Ray thought, “A beautiful day for a walk.”
All of the essentials: a couple of power bars, an extra sweater in case the weatherman’s prognostication failed, and a thermos of hot black coffee packed in his backpack.
The distance of his journey was roughly two and a half or three miles through the pristine Adirondack Mountain forest. His path was rocky and slippery with the damp leaves blanketing the ground.
Ray discovered this moss-covered granite outcropping during one of his many adventures. It was roughly forty-five minutes from his cabin. He had walked in every direction as he explored the secluded uninhabited wilderness that had become his home and discovered this beautiful opening surrounded by young birch trees.
The cabin was on land owned by his family for several generations. It skirts just outside the Adirondack Park Agency.
Coming here with his mother and father when Ray was a child were some of his fondest memories. Ray had hiked and knew this region well.
He kept his steady pace as he drew closer to the goal — the clearing that had become his holy sanctuary.
His hope that this clearing would become HIS clearing.
For the last year, Ray rose just before dawn, started a fire, brewed coffee to go while dressing, then make the trek.
Upon his arrival at the sanctuary, he would sit on his ancient rock pew then top off his thermos cup of steaming hot coffee.
Ray would spend a half hour, hour and sometimes two sipping, thinking, contemplating, meditating, grieving his loss.
Wondering, “Will I ever be able to move on?”
Devastated by his loss — Irene, his pregnant wife, was murdered during a home invasion a year and a half ago.
Ray, a former Army Special Forces officer, left the military to start a security company. Irene was the lawyer who represented him when he was getting the business started.
The chemistry was instant. Irene was a passionate, kind woman with green eyes and jet black hair of Italian descent. Beautiful like Sophia Loren.
They started dating immediately after the legalities of his business was completed. Married six months later.
Oliva Mellon, his loving mother, died of cancer four years earlier.
Thomas Mellon, his father and a man who Ray worshipped, died of a heart attack when Ray was thirteen.
No close friends, no close relatives, no one left, Ray riddled with loneliness.
He sold his thriving security business and moved into a secluded cabin to find healing and perhaps himself.
Plagued by unanswered questions.
“Why did she have to die?”
“Everyone I have ever loved. Gone!”
“Irene is gone!”
“Mom and Dad. Gone!”
“God! I have cried to you!”
“ Yet, you are silent.”
Ray looked up at the empty blue sky, around his sanctuary. The white birch trees huddled around the clearing like players around the quarterback. The sunlight set the red, gold, and orange leaves on fire.
While staring up into the blue expanse, Ray felt a tremor go through the ground powerful enough to throw him to the ground
Gradually working his way up to his hand and knees, he looked up. The birch trees were cracking and tumbling in towards him. None of the trees were close enough to fall on him.
Perplexed by what had happened he rocked back sitting on his knees. Equilibrium still off balance from the shock wave.
Working his way around to grab the rock and stand, Ray was startled by a man sitting on HIS rock. The man about 50ish, with salt and pepper gray beard with white around his chin, was sitting in Ray’s spot. The man was wearing a ball cap that said, “having a bad hair day” and a Walking Dead t-shirt, no coat, a pair of worn, frayed jeans, and sneakers.
At first, Ray thought the man was homeless or lost.
The man just looked at Ray with compassion filled eyes.
He smiled at Ray and said, “I saved your coffee from spilling. Do you mind if I have some from your thermos?”
“By the way, My name is Hyland Powers; I am here to help you.”
Astonished, Ray responded, “Where, Where in the hell did you come from?”
“Are you lost?”
Hyland responded, “I assure you not from there nor am I lost. I am right where I need to be.”
While feeling for blood or a head injury, Ray spoke to himself out loud,
“Did I hit my head in the fall?”
“Am I hallucinating?”
Hyland stood up and reached out a hand to help Ray up. Still disoriented by the quake, Ray reciprocated by grabbing Hyland’s hand.
Hyland supported Ray until Ray was steady on his feet. Ray at six foot stood a good six inches taller than Hyland. Ray was surprised by Hyland’s strength.
Once Ray seemed stable on his feet, Hyland handed Ray his coffee cup and said, “Let us sit.”
Eyeing Hyland and wondering how not a drop of his coffee spilled during the Earth tremor, he took a sip.
“Mr. Powers is it? How did you get here? Where did you come from?”
Ray thought to himself, “With my military training and knowledge of these woods, how did he sneak on me?”
“I must be losing my edge.”
“Please call me Hyland, and I have been here with you all the time.”
Ray shook his head in disbelief, “Sir, I have been coming hear alone now for about a year and never saw another person; maybe a squirrel or a bird.”
“Are you an Angel?”
“A hallucination brought on by an internal head injury or something?”
Hyland paused and took a sip of coffee from his cup before responding.
He turned and made eye contact with Ray, “I am who I am.”
“I am Hyland Powers.”
“I am the answer to your cry.”
Sadly Ray asked, “Are you here to take away my pain?
With patience, Hyland smiled, “ I am here to help you turn your pain into a Ray of Hope.”
“I am here to help you see what is already in you.”
Nearly sobbing, Ray looked down, “All I see inside me is the pain.”
“I thought I had everything.”
“I have nothing.”
Hyland put his arm on Ray’s shoulders as Ray began to sob and was silent for many moments until Ray had cried it out.
“Ray, look beyond the nothing.”
“You will find what you need there.”
Ray shook off the dizziness and throbbing ache as he picked himself up off the ground where he had slipped and hit his head.
“The trees all standing!”
“Wow, that seemed so real.”
Real or not — something fundamentally changed in Ray. Ray knew he had found his path to healing.