Do you ever get up and just know it’s going to be a perfect day? The sun bursts through the window, dancing over the table, while birds cast whistles from disparate parts of the meadow, echoing through still naked trees.
I sat upon the back steps, facing into the fiery rays, reciting the Rosary, as cats bounded back and forth, jumping and twisting, exalting in the warmth and the smells. Both dogs, nose to the ground, wove hither and yon, heads jerking up when a rooster pheasant pierces the clear blue air with an impatient call–“Good sex here! Let me fertilize your eggs!”
I drag a kitchen chair out to the porch and close my eyes, offering myself to God’s will. The birds recede to background, a plane goes overhead, a breeze intermittent brushes my cheek.
I survey the lay of the land, eyes pausing on tree after tree. And I am pierced to the heart with a sudden sadness. These trees, hundreds, no, thousands, have been mine for nearly twelve years. I could touch them, hug them, feel their rough bark. We breathed together, each tree and I, I offered it carbon dioxide, it gifted me with oxygen.
I note the crocuses are up and the snowdrops, and plenty of daffodils long ago planted. I will harvest a bunch in a day or two. And the lilacs are budding out, the leaves will be here in a day or two. And the house will be filled with their perfume, to later be replaced by hundreds of multiflora roses, wafting on the air, making one nearly drunk, sating the senses.
I’ve been down this path so many times, I know the pattern, what comes next and then next again.
This will be the last turn through these pages. Like a favorite novel that is read again and again, I am on the final reading. The pages are worn from use, stained with memories good and bad, but someone only the good ones are remembered.
My heart aches as I watch my redwing blackbirds, harbingers of spring. I will see them next year, but I will leave them here, as I will leave our favorite woodpeckers, our coyotes, our raccoons. I will walk one last time down the tree-lined drive and around the corner and up the hill.
I will see one last run of the seasons, gasp in delight as I look absently out the bedroom window and spy a doe munching a plant, or hear the snort of a buck as he crashes through the underbrush, shaking his antlered head in proud arrogance.
All these images flash by in an instant. All that this meadow has been, is, and has not been. I realize I have felt rich beyond measure, “owning” all this. But of course, the world may consider me an owner, the meadow barely notices me. A piece of paper will transfer from hand to hand, and someone else will own this meadow. The animals, I suspect, will not realize that they have a new landlord. They may only notice that things are a little quieter.
I shake my head, and let a smile return. For a new adventure awaits me, awaits us. A new climate, with its own aching beauty prepares itself for my admiration. And somehow, I know, just know, that within a few weeks, a month or two, I will love it as dearly as I have this meadow.
Life is saying goodbye, and hello, over and over again.