It took me weeks to understand that that had really been the last day. You see, there is always a last day between lovers. Of course, they often stop being lovers by then. But there is always that last blissful day; a day of unknown foreshadowing. And we had spent it in the mountains of my youth over cocktails and fries, a belated anniversary celebration.
I showed you the road in Lee Canyon that went to Camp Foxtail, the Las Vegas Girl Scout Camp where I had searched for Tigger and Eeyore in the meadows as a young girl. Wistfully I recalled so many fond memories of that place. My favorite memory was smelling the sap of bristlecone pines, the ones we called ice cream trees. Because if you peeled back the bark a bit, the gooey opaque sap smelled sweet – like ice cream. That day on Mount Charleston they smelled like vanilla. You said you had always preferred chocolate.
Foreshadowing, you see.
We walked further ahead to locate another memory of mine, a letter writing perch nestled between a conclave of aspen trees. It drizzled a light rain in the aspen grove. I stretched my hands to the grey splattered sky. A naive grin on my face, I laughed and told you that it was lucky. Our own lucky omen. You told me that you wanted the sun.
And in three weeks you were gone.
You were packed up and gone chasing sunshine amidst mid-winter’s shadows.
And I was left with the reminder of a rain drenched aspen grove on a Sunday.
On a mountain I’ve yet to return to.
But the aspens still find me. And with each new grove I discover new roots and new footing. And an untarnished resilience despite changes in weather. I look up at the sky, and I breathe the forest in deep, sun spotted leaves in my hands, and I am still.
I am connected.
I am alive. And I am free.