It is a rare opportunity to understand you are standing at a crossroad, at the exact moment when you are standing at a crossroad.
My mother receives a dropper of morphine by mouth twice a day, and sleeps. I hold her hand, but she has let go. We’ve been riding together side by side the entirety of my conscious life. She has disembarked. I feel the empty seat. I feel the car begin to move. No one will sit in her place. There is a profound ache, and yet. I have room to spread out, put up my feet, roll down the windows, turn up the music. She will not mind.
Life returns. I smell it. The light has changed. Crocus appear. I put out dried grasses with the bird food for the sparrows who are building a nest in the usual spot in my neighbor’s gutter. I breathe deeply. The air is cool, not frozen on my face. The mountains of snow have melted. My feet stick in sepia and satiny mud, and leave an imprint. I greet the swollen buds on trees who share my walk route. I know every one. Hello. That was quite a winter, eh? I pat their warming trunks and sigh.
We get this one spin. It isn’t my turn to stop. I salute my mother and spin on, with sorrow and delight. This morning, as I sip coffee, I suddenly remember standing at a bar in Montmartre, sipping a heavy shot glass of espresso with a cube of sugar. Maybe I will spin to Paris this summer, pat the French trees, and sit quietly in some remote gallery of drawings in the Louvre, to converse with those who know what I know about holding a pencil, and who also know something I do not, about death and eternity. That lesson will come. In the meantime.