I was just walking the dog along the first part of the trail, the one that follows the back harbor and looks out across the water onto red barns and rolling fields and makes me feel like I really do live in the country.
The bushes are thick with crimson berries you can eat (tangy like cranberries) and the wildflowers have gone over into a big brown tangle with a few purple marguerites still poking their yellow eyes out. The air smells different, heavy-scented. It seems like everyone is burning sweet wood.
And the birds are almost manic in their end of season frenzy. You can feel it, you can hear them, their need seeps into your blood and makes it zing: must mate, must gorge, must fly, must leave. It makes me antsy, it makes me want to go somewhere else too but I am rooted here. I must winter here whether I will or no.
I am thinking of my dear friend. She pops into my head often still. It might be a smell or a sound or something I can’t pinpoint that triggers the memory of her face. Don’t know what it was this time either but it doesn’t matter. I like seeing her again even if it’s only in my mind’s eye and it is a picture from 17 years ago, of a girl who no longer exists.
And I remember that she was 29. It hits me with a jolt and I start to cry there on the path, with my dog who looks at me anxiously.
3 months older than I was. She would turn 30 before me and that seemed very old then. I teased her about it.
29 seems so very young. Barely even getting started. Too soon to lose her, and too much for her to lose. A whole other lifetime.