I took my walk at the botanic gardens, in my furry hat and make-do winter gear, which consists of a thrifted leather coat (windproof) over the free warm up jacket that came with my job (layer). I look ridiculous but I’m warm enough to wander the red willow hedges and glimmering tall grasses, and spin the garden kaleidoscope as long as I want to. The gardens are one of those public homes where my belonging cannot be revoked – regardless of how my private living arrangements are re-shuffled. Barbara loved the botanic gardens, holding forth on its wonders as she pieced her way, brick by brick, to the bench that was as far as she could go without a rest. It’s one of the places we shared, where I can always find both her and myself, even as time passes.
Taking those familiar turns – the aspen-lined path along Starkweather Creek, the quiet edge of the back-40, sheltered by low hanging branches of white pine, snow collected in their long, soft needles – it sank in how many homes I have lost this year. Not only the address where I lived, but the hope of buying my own place. And the place I trusted as dear and certain as my bones – where over and over, I found safe landing from the exhaustion of loneliness – isn’t sending out its beacon anymore. Not to mention my particular corner of our human home: the world of faces and breath and the common sanity of protecting our fellow travelers. Each turned over into nothing I ever imagined, nothing I ever meant to look for or find.