~ Chickadees and juncos throw back their heads to praise the dawn. They announce the joy of morning light and bring me hope in exchange for seeds.
~ In memory, Mariachi music blasts over the driving range loudspeakers. A tiny brown and white pup nibbles my pudgy five-year-old fingers. Hello, new best friend Amigo.
~ The sky is yellow-green. I shiver and watch those dark clouds in the distance. There are tornadoes nearby. Grandpa holds my little hand in his warm fingers. I’ll be OK.
~ In 1970, I push and groan. My body splits in two, but then a baby lies on my belly. Gentle breath. He’s in my arms, and I’m a mother.
~My young dog Willow snores next to my bed. She yelps in her hunting dream. She had knee surgery in 2010 when she was under a year old, but she’s healing. By spring, she’ll leap across the stream again.
~ I haul frozen firewood from the porch. It’s zero degrees with a rabid, biting wind. My shoulders tighten against the cold. I load the stove and orange flames flare. All will be well.
~ In 2008, after Vic’s death, when heartache is too much to bear , I take my grief for a walk each day to visit Vic’s cairn under the red oak tree. I walked there less in recent years, but during this COVID-19 quarantine, I walk to Vic’s cairn with my dogs every day and give thanks for the life we shared.
~ Vic and I embrace in the kitchen. I surrender into his warm body. And then I wake up. By 2009, I know what it’s like to live without these hugs.
~ Another cold winter night in 2015. Dark and lonely like other winters before and after. Then out the west window, Venus, Mars, and the Moon smile hello.
~ On March 7. 2020, it’s Vic’s birthday. I miss him every day. We met as kids and dared to love. That’s no small thing.
~ The wood fire glows amber in late March 2020. Old Willow sleeps on her warm bed and my young pup Disco rests with her head on my lap. The soup I made for dinner perfumes the house. I made enough to leave a jar on my son’s porch a few miles away. We’re staying home until this crisis passes, but there is comfort in the small promises of spring.