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This afternoon, it feels slikkery outdoors—well named for its mouse-gray sky emitting misty hiccoughs and leaving droplets: they’re everywhere, if you look for them. They fashion ephemeral designs upon window screens and when engorged, resemble tobogganers careening and zigzagging down mountain trails.

Droplets appear upon tips of denuded shrubs like shy dancers awaiting the cue to go on stage; when swollen with the orchestra’s rhythm they hurtle into the arms of lower branches, until the next letting go, until there is no other.  

Droplets also cling to porch roofs and piggyback others more developed before smacking the pavement below; its pinging jostles the enveloping silence, also slick.

Droplets also cling to holly and red-and-white ribbons that decorate mailboxes, and to outdoor lights that frame the exteriors of houses, giving them a lustrous sheen.

Such slikkery waters depths of dryness like grace: a radical re-wiggling into harmonious change that draws gratitude.

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.

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