We’d been fortunate to have been with her just a week earlier. She was weak but radiant, laughing and fighting with the most intense courage I have ever seen. We found reasons to giggle and cry together. I felt so close to her.
I still feel her close to me. I still feel her love.
She is here.
On Tuesday morning, I’m in my usual ritual, walking outside to pick up the newspapers, cat strolling with me. A sudden flurry of wings nearby and a massive creature lands above me.
It’s our owl. It’s only the second time the owl has shown himself, although we regularly hear him outside our window. I sat on the front porch and we watched each other for several minutes until something beckoned him to float away on great silent wings.
A bit later, I’m at my desk on a call. I have a window in front of my desk, usually an uneventful view — a bit of brick wall, vines, juniper trees. A small movement in the vines and I see a mother cardinal, carefully feeding a young hatchling. Cardinals, I know, are often thought to be a representation of loved ones who have passed. It’s a nice thought, but even nicer to see that this cardinal is a mother gently tending her young.
Later still, I stroll the garden as I love to do. I take note of the progress — bunnies continue to feast on my scaviola and sweet potato vines, but sun coleus are competing for showiest colors while canna lilies stretch skyward. And then a surprising new bloom — a white iris. In late August.
A tiny bit beyond, and another surprise. My trumpet vine, with its exuberant green growth, has at last produced a bud.
I felt love in every one of these moments. Every one made me think of her. She is here. She is loved.
I know, this sounds deranged, goofy. There is nothing so out of the ordinary of any of these things.
The owl lives here too, why shouldn’t I see him occasionally? And while most cardinals have young in spring and early summer, an August hatch is not unheard of. I know that some irises will re-bloom (they are described as remontant); I know that trumpet vines can take years to mature to bloom — mine just finally reached its time.
But does it matter either way?
I see love in these small things, and I feel love with each one — for Phyllis, for my dear friend Nancy, for those around me, for the universe. And it is real.