That first spring it rained everyday and we’d sit on the back porch for hours on end reading, sometimes aloud, sometimes to ourselves. A thousand titles, a million subjects, fiction and non fiction about gardening, about the wild, about animals, about life.
You made the first bow drill from studying pictures in books and even after hours of trying it never yielded a flame. But each day you worked at it, until one day we saw the first tiny ember, precious and jewel-like, glowing and alive.
You surprised me with treasures each day when you picked me up from work. A bird’s nest, a new plant, a beautiful flower, a stone. And once a small green snake carried in a shoebox. Delicate and quick we released it back into the woods where you found it. Watched it slithering on is belly through the underbrush until it seemed to disappear right before our eyes.
I cried a lot, salty tears mixing with the sweet cool rain, shocked at the state of the world and the depth of the lies I’d been told. We spent whole days in the park exploring, discovering, learning, watching, listening. Searching for the truth. Taking back our lives.
And by the end of the summer when we floated on our backs down the lazy and muddy creek
I could whisper the names of the trees stretching tall and shady overhead
maple, sycamore, tulip poplar, beech.
We adopted a kitten that fall and at night he’d sit at the end of the bed and play with our feet. He was big and fast and smart, and he made us laugh all the time
until we opened the back door to call him in one evening
and he did not get up to move.
We scooped up his small soft body all curled up and still
and then buried him under the place where we had grown the broccoli
while I thought my heart would break.
You wore his small, red collar on your wrist for a long time
until the color was faded and the edges were all frayed.
It rained everyday that spring
the year I learned to fall in love.
Thank you for listening,