We moved back over two years ago, and I remember that first winter especially. It snowed here, an abundance of white covering what is normally still bright green and mossy this time of year. It felt like Alaska had followed us, placed her ice-cold blue finger on our shoulders, and whispered, “Not so fast. You can’t get rid of me yet.”
We drank a lot of espressos that winter, because you bought me a new machine. The grinding of beans and the steaming of milk became a calming ritual, even though the product kept our hearts racing. That townhome had a large window that overlooked the trees and the street, and when it snowed in great white flakes it looked like one of those animated photographs in Chinese restaurants. Later that summer, when the electricity went out for days and the only light was from the hundreds of lightning bugs darting through the trees, the picture was replaced.
Last Friday, you told me about Connecticut, gently and without much commentary. The ache is still raw, and will always be raw. There comfort lies only for those of us who are far removed, we see something that doesn’t make sense, so we weave metaphysical quilts to wrap around ourselves. Quilts with threads of gold and silver embroidered in the batting. I’m sure for the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, teachers, friends of the dead, there isn’t a quilt warm or beautiful enough that could keep them comfortable for long. It would likely be too small, and slip off their shoulders too often. Their ache is a black hole, devouring their movements and thoughts. I ache for them and I ache for all of us.
Something (or someone) was here this morning. The dog was sleeping next to me and she raised up, hackles like porcupine quills on her strong back. Her teeth bared, her growl low then rising into a full bark; there was something in the hallway. Invisible, but still very present. Maybe she was dreaming, but just in case, I did a cleansing salt fire this afternoon. I said, in a low voice, that if the someone or something that was here was nice and calm, it could stay. Loved ones are welcome. Always.