Archives for posts with tag: pretty

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Tender notes fill the room. My mind wonders to distant lands, New Orleans or a bay out west. Places romanticized by novels read, travelers from times long past and of course film. The melody of the record spinning on the turntable which is housed in stereo that speaks of another time, holds me to reality. We could own the finest Bose stereo and the records of our grandparents would still be played on this one that is more furniture than electronics equipment. Brooke insists that music is best when in its intended form, a true record. She of course has an iPod and downloads music of many styles and eras. However, Brookelyn’s favorites are on vinyl.

My eyes open slowly at the gentle touch of sister’s finger to my lips. Looking up from the sofa into Brooke’s pretty face, I offer a smile, to ensure that as always her unusual methods of gaining my attention are appreciated. She quickly signs that she would like my help this morning with the duties in the barn and caring for the horses. Knowing it has little to do with the work that she enjoys but instead is an opportunity she has chosen to spend with me I quickly agree.

Stepping into the cool shadows of the barn behind our home I’m saddened remembering that at Brooke’s age I fought with our parents about doing these tasks, which sister does without so much as a request. To escape self-ridicule I talk to Brooke about traveling, the wonders that foreign places must surely hold. Shovels scrape concrete floors clean with metallic sound, followed by the spray of water that completely clears the stall floors. The whole time I talk of piers, ships sailing far away and adventures neither sister have known. Brookelyn listens acknowledging my words with smiles and at times nods of head. She works slower than normal, allowing me to handle my share of the duties that have long fallen on her precious shoulders.

The bay which Brooke most rides tries to be near her, nosing her hair that hangs bellow the bowler covering her head. Like everyone who knows Brookelyn, Shane does his best to be as close to her as possible. She meets his gesture of love with a gentle blow of breath from between soft lips into his face, then pats the horse who persists on. Once Shane’s area is cleaned Brooke hops over the railing, he turns and exits to the open arena outside his stall. Failing to occupy his loves attention, he has retreated to his peers company, to recoup for another attempt in the future. Feed laid out, barn clean and tended we exit into the sunshine, my eyes taking a moment to adjust to the worlds brightness.

“Brooke, where do you most want to go?” I ask drifting back to dreams of ports, bridges and romantic locations.

Bright eyes meet mine as, “into the house to get a drink, then back out to saddle Shane and go for a ride. Want to come?” is signed in response.

Sitting in familiar saddle, I watch Shane give a slight snort in approval as Brooke mounts. My little sister in perfect riding posture leads the way out of the barn across sunny pasture, opening the bays gate into a slight gallop. Oceans, adventures and travels are forgotten, my heels gesture the horse beneath me to do his best to catch that which at the moment Shane has achieved, Brooke’s attention and favor.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Wild grass covers the small field, which is inclosed by a wooden fence, in front of our home. A dirt and gravel drive leads to a blacktop road that can not be seen from the wooden porch. Five chairs, two of them being the type that rock, are perfect places to find yourself for relaxation, conversation, or to view the day. Perched in the other piece of furniture, a wooden swing, the slight breeze sways me gently. Far across the field a shadow moves, the young mare lifts her head for a moment, then upon recognizing the shadows form returns to chewing natures gifts. As often is the case familiarity brings comfort and ease.

Making way through the pasture, from my location the shadow soon gains form. Sun glistens on golden hair, that hangs loosely beneath a worn derby. The bowler hat would be out of place to the scene if not for the individual wearing it. The derby is just one of many unique bits of fashion Brooke uses as headware. A fly-rod rests on her shoulder, catching the sun on eyelets on occasion, sending bright spots of light in my direction. From her walk it is apparent the creel over her left shoulder is not empty, but instead contains the morning catch.

Brooke is well beyond half way across the field when basket of fish and rod are placed on the ground as her arms are wrapped around the neck of the mare. A bit of her morning snack that she has saved for this moment is removed from her small pack. The horse gently eats the apple piece from my sisters palm. Unlike the mare I understand the strength of this gesture, apples are in fact Brooke’s favorite of all foods, a slice saved for an old friend is no small offering. Horse patted once more, gear is gathered from the ground, as fisherman continues home.

The screen gently taps door frame as father joins me on the porch. He has witnessed the scene from inside but can no longer keep glass between himself and that which he so loves. “Sometimes I wish that youth, innocence, wisdom, tenderness and beauty was my own,” Dad almost whispers.

“It is.” I respond in the same tone.

“I may have had a slight hand in creating her but she is not mine. Brooke belongs to no one, barely even to this world. What I meant however was that I wish, I was more like her.”

The words of father could be my own. It’s not that I want to be like Brooke, who my father is now holding the wooden gate for, it’s more a want to know what it’s like to see things as she does for just a moment. Brookelyn tips the bowler and smiles at Dad holding the gate open, they walk together up to the porch before she sees me in the shadows. A huge smile comes across her face as creel is handed to father. For a moment, before she reaches into her pack I believe she is proud of her catch. Of course humility being one of her stronger qualities I quickly realize the smile is for me, as a slightly dusty hand offers me a slice of apple pertected from the dust by white handkerchief.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Brooke’s eyes reflect sparkling water, while holding secrets of great things done or about to be done. It’s strange how regardless of what they are set on that Brookelyn’s eyes always seem to show the reflection of a stream. Maybe it’s an abundance of expression, compensation of her silence or her simple uniqueness. Regardless of why they shimmer like a mountain spring, the fact remains they do, giving her the ability to smile with them alone.

My father once told me that he was fascinated by my little sisters artwork, that ability to manipulate paper and ink or graphite. This was some time before she turned to pastels, watercolors, oils, chalk and charcoal. Now we all are captured by the creations of her hands. Possibly our amazement comes in part because she is the only one in the family with talent for such things. I don’t believe that’s entirely it, nor is it that she is talented. The admiration and astonishment of Brooke’s art is mostly do to her casualness about the work. She will give them away, paint over fine works and when praised, simply smile.

She truly believes her talent is just practice, comparing it to the likes of learning a song on guitar, casting a fly-line, ice skating, tying flies or riding a horse. Each of these too can be an art form. So of course I can see the resemblance. It’s not that she is not grateful for her talents. Brooke is completely aware of her gifts, humbly giving credit to almost anyone besides herself. The one exception is she will acknowledge the hours spent perfecting everything she does. Though again she sees it not as anything other than doing what comes natural.

Across the room Dad stands behind Brooke watching her apply oil to canvas. She is currently working on one of two paintings in progress on the twin easels in the corner of our family room, that sit next to the oak table where flies are tied. Two paintings are almost always in progress, allowing for work to be done on one if the linseed oils of the other require time to dry. Plus there are the sketches, pastel works and charcoal drawings that lay scattered across what once was our bedroom but now feels more like Brooke’s alone. I assure you this doesn’t bother me, it’s part of growing up and the art is so beautiful I wouldn’t care even if all my time was spent here.

Brooke looking over her shoulder at Dad smiles pausing for a moment before returning to her piece. During this moment it occurs to me that what I’ve thought was a reflection of running water in her eyes is in fact love. Love so strong and powerful that it can be seen. Love so amazing that it pours out into everything she attempts. Love beyond words spoken by poets or told by play writes from long ago. There is so much love within her that Brookelyn’s small frame and stature can not contain it, resulting in this love overflowing from every aspect of her. This love fills the room, the sights and hearts of everyone she encounters. Leaving me today with a thought. Somewhere out there, a boy who doesn’t yet know it, will someday look into the rivers of my sisters eyes and without saying or hearing a word become the luckiest man to have ever lived.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Lovingly my father insisted both the Bayer girls learn the art of fly-fishing. With certainty a memory of Brooke barely coordinated enough to move a rod back in forth in a strait motion, standing in our yard as father clapped out the rhythm that would ensure a looping cast, is engraved in my mind. I don’t recall learning to handle a fly-rod at such a young age, but doubtlessly remember the efforts of my sister. Long after my own arm tired or my interest faded to other activities, Brookelyn would still be standing in spring dusk working the hookless line in our front yard.

Our mother questioned dad only once about if in fact he possibly was pushing the youngest daughter too hard, or if the length of these casting sessions bordered on the level of cruelty. The inquisition ended with Brooke in tears struggling to sign and scribble a legible, “please let’s me play fishing.” At this point it was apparent to all three of us that if anything the smallest member of our family was the one lengthening the fly-fishing lessons. This was also the first sign of my sister’s slightly unhealthy obsession for perfection at any activity which she undertakes.

Several years have passed since Brooke and I were even close on the water in ability to handle rod and line. As the art insists this also sets her several leagues above me in enticing, hooking and landing fish. It also must be written that though I attend most fishing expeditions with Brookelyn and father, I go more to be with them than to work line or catch anything. Truth be told I know a day may come when I step away from my fly-rod and never pick it up again. Brooke on the other hand, when not wondering local water ways alone or with anyone willing to venture with her, often spends her time planning an adventure to come, or tying flies that she has deemed for season and certain species of fish. Not unlike the work she does on paper with pencil, pen or pastels, Brooke is an artist with her fly-rod and the tying of furs, feathers and string on a hook. As is the case with most talented artist her passion and love shows in the beautiful handcrafted flies and even more so in the grace of her cast, be it a standard, roll or shadow cast.

After spending this morning on the water with Brooke, I’m simply amazed at who she is becoming. At thirteen, I chased boys, fought at times with mom and dad and made more than a few mistakes. Watching Brooke stop from tying a #12 fly to write out our adventure from the day in an effort to tell Dad, who just walked in from work, it occurs to me that though I am older, she may in some ways be the more grown up of the Bayer sisters.

-Brooke’s Sister

The kitchen faucet, as often is the case in small homes, the kind filled with love but not expensive wares, drips. The rhythm of the water bouncing on the stainless sink always much like the beat one feels when casting a fly-line. That steady timing, subtle and ensuring the perfect looping cast; that’s always seemed to come more naturally for my sister than myself. Maybe the always present drip of the kitchen sink that stands out in all my memories of my youth, in some way engraved its way into the silence of my sisters life. Ensuring she would always have that necessary time to keep line just above water’s surface long enough to dry a fly and gentle enough to present it in a way pleasing to the most skittish and finicky of trout.

Snapping thoughts away from the present reminder that I am home, from college for the summer, Brookelyn slides a yellow tablet across the table. Looking at my baby sister, who appears to have grown a lot in the short months since I last saw her, I am aware before I read the words on the tablet of what they will say. Her eyes have told me what she has written. Reading Brooke’s eyes is a skill I’ve developed over the years. Our father in many cases, especially in the days when my sister was younger and less adequate at her preferred ways of communication, has called upon me to do just that; to understand her. This is not to say that I understand her anymore than any sibling understands another. It is more just an intensified observation of nonverbal communication. As to the deeper aspects of Brooke, things like hopes, dreams and desires, assuredly my insight is lacking at best.

From the slightly pink cheeks on the elegantly sculpted face of the prettier of the two Bayer daughters, my eyes make their way down a slender arm, to a gentle hand, that if turned palmed up would reveal calluses on finger tips from hours of compressing strings on a fretboard. There my attention is held for a while. On a hand much the same as my own, though a little smaller and in many ways more adept at the things hands are generally used for, and even more so at a few skills that only certain select people choose to master. Brooke’s nails are painted the color that is her favorite. That softest of blues, reserved for misty skies, babies clothes and on some occasions the prettiest of eyes. The type of eyes belonging to the very person’s hand being studied. Examined as if it may be needed sometime from now as a memory to serve as a point of happiness or contentment in life.

In handwriting as familare as my own, a blue gel pen, has scrolled letters that combined in current combination spell just what I’ve suspected. The looping clear beautiful writing seems to express so much more than if it had come from any source other than the very one it has. Taking a moment to locate the words somewhere in mind, to reply to a statement that seems possibly routine to others. Once again I am aware of the water faucet tapping out the seconds. Normally I tend to talk quite freely with friends and strangers alike, but at times it’s just not like that with Brooke. Seldom concerned about the deepest meaning of words chosen, taking for granted that what is said can be reworded if necessary or possibly that words spoken are such a common event that little consideration is needed in sharing them.

However, reading over the blue ink on yellow legal pad, I’m reminded that speaking can not be taken for granted. For a second I close my eyes desperately trying to imagine a voice. A voice of perfect pitch that would capture the attention of anyone within its range. The very type of voice that is surely more charming than the sirens that led many sailors to their doom on rocky shores. In my racing mind I search for the voice suitable for my angelic, mute little sister. When as always I’m filled with silence, my own voice fills the room.

“Brookelyn, I love you too and I am glad you are happy to have me home.”

-Brooke’s Sister