In the morning, putting books aside, I sat. In one hand a letter from my niece asking me to tell her something of her grandmother who died before she really came to know her. In the other hand I held an agate. As I did so, I noticed that at the small frozen edge of a large pond that sits out behind the house, a King Fisher stood, looking for breakfast, finding only an icy hard table. His eyes could see in air and under water, but today his vista was barren. The pond completely frozen but for a small center, like an eye wide open to the insult of the cold. In its deep blue center, a small movement of stream, water ebbing and flowing, occasionally leaving the eyes center, out onto the ice like a tear. It waits and it waits - seeing only upward, hoping for warmth and light before it's forced to close itself in resignation.
Winter was upon us, and too many years have passed for my niece since her grandma's death. I hope a lifetime will pass before that kind of loss may find it's way again into a home where her heart lies in. I think of what stories I should tell her. A cup of English tea shakes the cold off of the room and soothes the chill that lingers only in my neck, the rest of me warmed by words that form from thoughts of the past. Words that I hope offer her happy memory of times she didn't witness.
There is strength in memory, just as there is light. In one minute of memory there's my Mom's hands on the sun covered counter, making the chocolate chip cookies that I love to this day, hands steady and firm, belying the tremor inside of her. She would carefully measure out the flour and sugar and salt, then just flinging in more chips than called for, wild abandon of sweetness in life too often bland. In another, I see myself bathed in the light of the fire in the great room, waiting with her, as music from the stereo filled the air in a kitchen fragrant with love. Letting the deep richness engulf me with a taste, hot from the oven, washed down by a glass of milk, cold as ice, meeting the warmth and expanding us both.