We've had a few days of New England weather. Dry, cold, bright. No snow, but a heavy frost.
So heavy that each morning, I've peered out the window and wondered, Did it snow? What a pleasure it's been to revel in the sunlight. It's the sort of light that holds the promise of another season. The sun is low and golden--I find myself thinking of eating olives and drinking a cocktail in small square in Madrid. A memory so distant, it has the vague beauty of a dream.
The night before my grandmother died, Matt and I were chatting quietly in the dark before going to sleep. I like to talk just before sleep. It always seems to me as if the cream of the day has risen to the top of the jug and needs skimming. I said something like, "You know what I wish for when things settle down? Just one normal day." And while I recognize that life isn't "normal," I have to say it's been a long time since I felt the day was just an ordinary day. Lately, it seems like constant upheaval. I spent the first part of the next day crying, and trying not to cry, about Bete, while doing the household stuff. And in afternoon, Honey passed away.
Matt suggested I go upstairs for some time alone. Funny--it hadn't even occurred to me. I made the bed, and sat down. I suddenly remembered the Christmas card from a dear friend. She said she had surrendered to the busy nature of the holiday season, and would get through it by meditation. Her old friends, surrender and meditation. I imagine she did just that, gracefully. Alright, I thought, I get it. This is not a time for ordinary days. I surrender. And for the past few days, when I get down about the uncertainty of everything, or about our loss, or when I get frustrated with Jane, who world is lately ending at the slightest provocation (molars? please be molars), I try to remind myself that it's okay, because this is the way our life is right now. And it helps.
Yesterday I returned the soil that held our holiday paperwhites to its native molehill, and we memorialized Bete. She never did come back. It has been too brutally cold for her to survive, injured or unwell, if she were still living. She's gone. We stood where the animal road that circuits our yard meets the path to the creek, looking toward Bete's rock.
Matt said, "Shall we say goodbye to Bete?" And Jane chanted in her high little sing-song voice, "Bye byyyyyyye, Bete! We'll let you go! See you soon!" And waved to the forest, canny lass.
I was blown away by what she said, until I recognized it as a common phone call sign-off in our house. It was just what I needed to hear, and say. Bye bye! We'll let you go. We'll see you soon. A bit of closure.
We finished our stroll in the afternoon sunset. It was particularly satisfying because earlier in the day we had officially told our landlords that we would stay. Who could have believed it would work out, that we could stay in Olympia? Heading back up the hill, I looked out on our domain with renewed pleasure. Jane ran along the path, then back again, so happy to see me. What a feeling.
We stopped to look at the sticks in the grass that mark the location of the rhubarb, and the pretty frost still on the shed. Yes, there's a lot going on, a lot of loss and luck these days, and that's okay. We're getting by just fine. Better than fine.