Stray cat sings back

 photo by  K.Inglis

photo by K.Inglis

It’s grey in here, silent in that muffled way. Cobwebs and dry hinges creaking, a light and feathery blanket of dust over everything. I lived here, years ago. It smelled of a hot woodstove. It was a glow.

Hello, grief

It hardly knows me anymore. It’s got me shy. Or maybe it’s the grief that’s shy. When it started to fade, Liam was a blur through a pinhole camera. Did he really happen? Was he born, and did he die? Did everything after that fall apart, grow again, come true?

Oh baby. Baby love, little sunshine.

***

The ground is half-thawed. Crunch through with a boot and water fills your footprint. Every now and then you get a waft of good clean mud; dead leaves; salt off the ocean brought by a softer wind; dogshit. We walk circles around fir trees watching for snowdrops, the flower that’s always first to pipe up and say hello. Robins hop gingerly across piles of sugary white, looking for green, looking for lunch. 

“Oh, Spring! I want to go out and feel you and get inspiration. My old things seem dead. I want fresh contacts, more vital searching.” —Emily Carr

Summer is a break. Fall is a glory. Winter is to be endured. Spring says Up you get.

***

Nine years ago, I had identical twins three months too early. One lived, and one died. I started Glow. I wrote a novel. I ended my marriage. I bought a house by a little creek. I absorbed and then spat out a poison. I wrote another novel. I danced in the kitchen, cried, and watched with a big smile as a truck dumped three cords of wood in the yard. I’ve caught mice in traps and played Santa by myself. I’ve canoed to the place where we left Liam’s ashes. I’ve sat in the waters of the eddy imagining flecks of him nibbled by trout; trundled into beaver dams; squished into the slime of the pondside by the toes of those little black turtles with the bright yellow tails.

I’ve cried so much. Every morning for a solid three years, my face was kicked in by a mule. Sleep was the enemy. You’re not just going to lie there, thinking in the dark, are you? I shoved a crowbar under old wood and pried it off. I scraped and painted, planted and mowed. I lusted and loved. I’ve been a mother to three boys, one of whom is not here.

I miss you, baby.

Seagulls fight over some delicious dead thing. The whomp of a truck on the highway. A gust of wind. I’m listening. He used to answer. All kinds of ghosts used to answer. They don’t anymore.

***

Nine years later, there’s peace. There really is. People say time heals and you fantasize about Wile E. Coyote anvils dropping from the sky. What’s-her-name and her however-many Stages of Grief. Denial, begging, anger, acceptance, a neat bow, something-something whatever. Screw you, what’s-your-name. My grief is not linear.

But here’s the thing. From a long way up—I’m whispering now—it is, sort of. Grief is not linear. Time doesn’t heal. Not at all. Until it does.

You will say Hello, baby and your heart will fill up, and then the moment will pass, and you will sigh deeply, send love, and keep walking.

***

We made Glow, and we’ll add a bit of water and light, because: 

All through the night
Stray cat is crying
So stray cat sings back

***

It’s spring. In the coming weeks, we’re opening all the windows here, letting in some fresh air. A redesign, some new features, small gestures to tidy up a bit. It’s a seasonal cleaning that’s about eight years overdue—since we're on a legacy system, it's already been a bumpy technical ride. Over the next couple of weeks, you'll see things changing here as we iterate the design. Please bear with us.

Once the redesign is complete, I’ll write again now and then, adding to what’s already in my name. So please bear with us, and let us know what you think, will you? Thanks so much for all your thoughts so far. I love this place, and I’m happy to be back.

If you like, tell me—what is spring, to you? What essential up-you-get nudge does this season give you? What are your rituals? Do you purge? Walk? What could you do right now to change the air around you?