Guest post by: Adria Nemeroff, in memory of Peter Falkowski
This sunny Tuesday, marking time without Peter was a tough workday, just trying get to my car before the sadness of losing him got the better of me. I luckily had an evening date with Beth, my sister-in-law and dear friend, back in the woods where Peter and I would often explore. This time the weather was perfect, and it felt right to venture farther onto those familiar trails.
Spring is finally here
Upon my arrival I noticed a true sign of the beautiful Spring weather: many more people to be found near the stream and on the trail. I smiled and thought to myself that they really had missed some amazing views all winter. A pang of sadness hit me hard, as I wondered if I would be brave enough to venture out in the snow and ice without my amazing hiking partner, who had made me feel safe in any situation.
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Here in the present on a welcoming Spring day, I must say that Beth makes an excellent hiking companion. She pointed out different flowers just beginning to bloom. A particular yellow one with spotted leaves only appears for a week or two, while the ferns looked like curled worms, not yet ready to unfold for us. I appreciated all of the new colors that were visible as we strolled down the dirt path in that wood. I wondered what Peter would see that I was missing, and he would point out with excitement in which I could share. Would he already be trudging his heavy photography equipment down those paths to catch the perfect light and color and scenery? I think he would have, and he would have reveled in every minute.
I took Peter’s pack all the way down the lower path of Henry’s Woods, past the island in the middle of the stream, which he said in the nicer weather he wanted to wade out to and explore. I know he would have if he just had one more season in the sun. I joked at that time that I would watch him from the dry path, but today I thought maybe Peter’s Pack and I would get across to the small patch of land in the summer, when at least the water would be refreshing. I want so much for Peter to do as he planned, and this is all I can substitute for that now.
I came to the small wooden bridge next to the frog pond. I heard a frog plop in, and I watched the water ripple from where it made contact. I set Peter’s Pack down to really take notice of the changes all around me. Just a few weeks before, he and I had been at the frog pond watching boys with nets and buckets catching the tadpoles and new frogs to study and then release. Peter loved to see their excitement and found it contagious, crouching his tall 6’3” frame to see what they had found.
On our way out of the woods that same day, Peter and I also watched a man running an impressive remote-control boat on the stream. It zoomed down and across with great speed, turning sharply and speeding back, unaffected by the current. I got the sense that Peter would have loved to join in that fun as well. I think what I really miss to my core is that he approached whatever he found with great enthusiasm, and he wanted to share in it all together.
Today on my own way back with Peter’s Pack, a group with two dogs allowed a bit more lead on their leashes than I was comfortable with, and I tried to push quickly past them on the very edge of the trail. I missed Peter again, remembering that he would step between me and any large beast encountered on our outings together. I think he was confident that he could win a staring contest with any size dog and escape unscathed. He never ended up with a bite, so I guess he was right. And he loved big animals. “No purse pups,” he would say, as he admired an excited pit bull, practically pulling its owner over to sniff Peter’s hand.
I thankfully made it back without incident myself, and I was glad Peter’s Pack and I had the opportunity to be out on a beautiful Tuesday. Missing Peter may be a constant ache, but I am close to him when I do the things we enjoyed in his memory.
Peter, that is how I carry you in my heart.
PS – I love you.
|About the author: Adria Nemeroff is a CPA currently residing near Allentown, PA. She began the Peter’s Pack series as a tribute to her departed companion and hiking partner Peter John Falkowski, who’s enthusiasm for the scenic outdoors and artistic talents for photographing landscapes inspired her to keep going outside. Peter’s Pack will now roam on adventures both familiar and new in loving memory of him.|