I am very pleased and thankful that a revised version of my blog post “Four” (originally published October 3, 2016) has been included in the June 2021 “Gardens” issue of ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal.
It is our first summer without him, an astonishingly beautiful day, and a Sunday, which makes it worse. I step outside to take a turn around the garden. That is where I go to think, to feel, and to remember.
Pausing at the far end, beyond the cabbages and the potatoes, out in the little meadow, I look back at the house, our sweet little cabin all covered with flowers and memories.
The sun casts cool shadows on the freshly mown lawn as I drift back into the not so very long ago. My heart sees four children rolling around on the grass with a couple of goat kids, a puppy, a bunny or two. They are loafing and laughing and just messing around and being together. I have spent some of the choicest moments of my life secretly watching the four of them together on that lawn.
It is not just missing Hans that has brought me to the garden today. It is missing them, all of them, together. Happy children on a Sunday afternoon, picking peas, pulling chickweed, growing faster than hybrid corn.
The desire to turn back the clock to one of those precious days, or to push it forward to when death will reunite us, is a treasure box of pain. It is an ache, a joy, that swells from the depths of my soul.
So, I am out here again, alone in the little meadow beyond the garden, crying of course–crying hard. I look back at the house again, then at the workshop and the animal pens. Where are my children? I listen for the shouts and the laughter, but I hear nothing. Nothing but a lone sparrow calling: Mommy I’m OH-ver here. I look up. Up is the only place to look. Up is where my boy is.
And then I see them. Three young eagles circling high overhead, far above the garden where my children used to grow. They gain altitude on the rising summer heat without a flap of a wing. I see a fourth eagle. It zooms at the other three and then zips away again in a provoking sort of way, like Hans used to do when he was being rascally. It keeps itself separate from the others, but not too far away. Like it is now for us. Here, but not here.
Then, a short time later, or maybe it was a long time, the fourth young eagle rejoins the others and together they begin playing eagle games. They soar for the joy of it, just messing around and delighting in a Sunday afternoon in summer. Four of them. Together. And from a secret place, the mother eagle watches.