Spring, yet a lifetime away, with winter in between here and there; Winter, with its long, dark nights and its persistent, lonely, chill. Our memories, as we age, seem to drop away like synchronized divers, one at a time, into some lost pool.

Momma’s had news of one more old friend given but days from the doctors, as if it were theirs to give, the gravity of passing time presses in and the inevitable whispers at the door.

0ut back Mama’s working, she’s got a couple of milk crates stacked up for a chair and a few more forming a table.

Normally, she and Sweet Lorene arrive here each morning, around 9, to run the dogs, fold towels and put away loose ends.

But today, after wearing the dogs down, Lorene’s off to the beauty parlor for her monthly tune up while Mama’s left behind, sitting on milk crates, speaking softly to the pets.

She’s portioning up dog biscuits, hair snow white and bristly as desert sage; our Dexter Dog curled by her feet, she leans, whispers, “dumb dog”, he looks up to the sound, only devotion in his eyes.

Last night, back from work, I drove round her block, the kitchen window illuminated so late, times like these sleep eludes; she’s microscopic, framed in fluorescent light within the darkness, white on white, nightgown and hair, my vehicle a movement in the blackness outside, another blurry shadow unable to penetrate the glass with any real understanding, powerless to reach in and setback the clock in any more than in an artificial manner, helpless before the passing of another loved one, another old friend or another time.

Barb believes each parting could be the last, whether just a trip to the store or down a roadless journey.

I can’t imagine, although of course it is always true, always there.

In any event, here’s to all that have gone before, each moment precious, may they light the way for us, left behind, keeping hands busy.

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