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January’s sting smarts my rounded cheeks as I walk: with each step, my lungs heave, my eyes blink in the sun’s brilliance, all the while focused upon my sandal’s next step on the sidewalk. My helper supports my left elbow, and my right hand taps the road with my cane when needed for balance. A lemon drop moistens my mouth.

I feel shrink-wrapped in my polyester car coat that absorbs the afternoon sun and toasts my sweatered-body. The ground is still squishy following recent rain and snow showers and breathes its willingness to foster growing things. Only with periodic stops do I look around and catch my bearings:

Two male cardinals perch on a feeder in a neighbor’s side yard; six-inch patches of daffodil blades pierce the moist earth in a garden; a golden retriever, with a bandanna tied around his neck, barks behind a link fence, his tail wagging; ghost-like Missouri honeysuckle vines squiggle along the sides of the asphalt path; a squirrel cross-hatches the trunk of an old oak and disappears; a solitary black cat with white markings on its throat and paws yawns in the sun and saunters by like a socialite followed by her admirers.

Halfway home, we pause. I lean against a chipped painted guardrail near the service path and again catch my breath. The show continues. Two blue birds flit among low-lying branches of the viburnum shrub, then dart out of sight. Nearby, two robust teens, their braided hair covered with earmuffs, laugh and jog, smart phones in their gloved hands. 

Sunday’s color and quiet renew me. I give thanks …

Grace is like ebony wetness seeping into the chinks of my terminal illness: This, too, must be transformed—and so it is, instant by instant. Today, I’m fully alive.


Splat! Splat! Splint! Outside my window, water droplets animate lilac leaves lifted in supplication like raised palms before their god. Too early have scorching suns aged the longed-for-greening of shrubs and trees in our neighborhood. Jets of sprinklers spew water over distressed lawns, and flowerbeds peak with riotous colors.

Splat! Splat! The moistening continues, albeit more slowly. Hesitant breezes spoof droplets, careening into larger ones emptying into gutters like bobsleds on iced tracks. A juvenile squirrel skitters up the stippled trunk of the sweet gum and disappears in thick foliage.

Then, the watering stops, the oatmeal sky brightens, and breezes muffle their meanderings. Only solitary droplets remain upon the leaves. Sidewalks dry.

No drencher this morning, no spring-step mists, no soaker-hose-rain to massage clods of dirt—just Splat! Splat!—the ground only tattooed with dark swirls.

Such dryness nudges my psyche, bereft of dreams for several days. Deprived of my compass, I list about seeking this or that, in hopes one will reveal its élan and reconnect me with significant moorings.

So my dryness continues … until the next dream.




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