Paradise

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges

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Snow is falling, inches of it, maybe even feet by the time the storm passes. We walked to the hardware store to buy a second snow shovel, as we love to be out in it together, tag team.

I can’t remember if I’ve already said this, but snow, and our sheer pleasure at its falling in Portland last winter, was one of the signs we were ready to move on. For the preceding years of our residence, we were the killjoys who wanted only rain and wished the snow away, and the sooner the better. It was, in many ways, a reminder of what we left behind.

That, I suppose, is the nature of change. Fifteen years of Portland rain proved adequate. There is comfort in snow, and I am happy for it, to watch its delicate descent, to stomp and shovel it, to have its white blanket quiet the land.

Pittsburgh weather, at least thus far, has been more variable: a few days of rain, a few days of clouds, a few days of snow, a few days of sun. It is colder here, temperature wise, but I am decidedly and happily warmer, for it lacks Portland’s winter humidity that chilled me so.

It also lacks the green, with the majority of neighboring forests deciduous, save a token few evergreens. Carpeted with brown leaves (or snow) and spindly, skyward climbing branches, it is jarring at first, and holds fewer secrets. I remember walking in Forest Park and hearing movement, the rustle of leaves, the crunch of twigs, and never once seeing what creature was responsible. It is possible here, and I’m reveling at the opportunity.

I would like to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to all who reached out after the passing of my Grandma and our sweet kitties. The loss and the resulting change in our lives has been more difficult than we ever imagined it would be. Your kindness, much like the blanket of snow, has been a tremendous and most appreciated comfort. Thank you.

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Glide

The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.

John Muir

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Our Milo-Schmoo-Boo-Bubba-Monkey-Doodle-Bub. Our trooper. Our Little Man. He is gone, and I am numb and weepy with the too soon-ness of it all.

On a walk to the park a month after moving into our Portland house, I chose him from a box of free kittens. Tiny and fuzzy, his pink belly a veritable flea highway, it was love at first sight, at least for us. He perplexed, infuriated, and irritated Paris, while learning everything he knew from her. I hope, in my heart of hearts, he has found her, and it is happening again.

He was our cuddle bug and heat seeker, pawing his way under the covers, lying on heat registers, bathing in the warmth of the sun. His meows were loud and demanding; barking orders to eat, share laps, to go outside, to spread a little joy. Deathly afraid of strangers, yet the man of the house when it came to keeping the neighborhood felines at bay, he gave not so much as a whoop-ti-do if he spied an opossum or mouse, lying prostrate in the sun mere inches away and yawning. Occasionally he chased squirrels (coming very close once), sadly, a few times killed birds. A cat among cats.

He was good and sweet and beautiful, a lover with dazzling eyes. Sixteen and a half! It was a very good life, one I am honored to have shared with him.

 

Loved Faces

His. Of course.

Andie. With whom I care not one whit if I look like a dork.

Ann. My first best friend.

Tyler. My nephew.

Our parents.

His. Again. Of course.

Michael & Mary. Blurry, closed-eye happiness.

Rena & Jeff

Karanjit & Mandeep. Makers of our favorite Portland Indian cuisine. We miss them.

Daddy. Happy Birthday!!

 

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