On Forgetting


Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll forget you. Certainly, my memories have changed some, shifted with time. I can’t quite recall exactly how you sounded when I talked with you, or how it felt to hug your little bird-like body close to my heart. And I’m afraid of that. Afraid of losing all that I have left. I wonder where you are now, though the question feels too tender and scary to ask. Still, there’s something I trust about our togetherness that overrides the fear. Even this cold morning, you were there.

This morning I walked out into the cold but glowing early day. It was only 4 degrees as light started to seep into the sky. I was bundled up, hurrying to stay warm, but then had to stop and stare. I was captured by the “glow” – the clear sky just shrugging off darkness, the first rosy- lavender blush of light, the snow lit up all around me. The air, the colors, so rarefied and pure.

At the lake, the whole big stretch of snow-covered ice was white. Ducks crowded at the little stream where it poured into the lake, the only open and moving water left. Mallards and mergansers jockeyed for space, sharing body-warmth. Steam puffed up from the water all around them.

I thought about moving away – about seeking out warmth and easier winters, and how much I’d miss this rare and quiet light, the cold wonders of an early winter day in Maine. And about how some things get inside us, become part of who we are. So that no matter where I go, or how long I stay away, these winter mornings walking through snow, stunned by first light blushing over the world, have seeped into my cells, taken residence in my heart.

I am forever marked by the wonder. I may move away, but I can never forget. Just like I’ve been stamped by the wretched mysterious impossibility of losing you, and of the happy sweetness of having been close while you were still here.

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