This is the place that follows us, even when we’ve spent an entire day with our noses stuffed full of honeysuckle smell and our hair full of white pear tree petals.
Now that we’ve been there, lived there, fought there, it’s not letting go its cold, iron grip on our thoughts. Even though we’ve begun to feel settled in, and are enjoying the tropical humidity and sweet tea again, an iceberg is calving; it’s shaking our foundations. I fear we’re crumbling under its blue weight. Our feet and fists have no resistance; it is insistent. What’s worse, we’ve invited this giant to sit in our laps.
Will we ever go back? I’m not sure that’s the question. The question is when. When will we go back? Will it be for good?
Little things have come back to haunt me: The comfortable, wet heat of the greenhouse in winter. The ladybugs clumped together on the ferns, our son running on the cobblestone path with his jacket off. A blizzard forming outside the greenhouse’s turquoise windows. Heavy purple sunsets.
The color arrives late there, usually in mid-April. It fights its way through layers of grey mud, glacial silt, dingy brown speckled snow. The grass pushes up from this cloudy muck, and each blade seemed to us a miracle. Once the willows and the birch unfurled their bright green leaves we felt like our chests would explode. So much growth. So much color. For a few short months at least. After that winter’s white, grey, and black came home to claim their territories again.