Text from this blog, ten years and a lifetime ago; images from this week in Montreal.
We drove to central New York to visit my parents. Spring is just coming to the fields and farms, and the land was tender and beautiful: the first velvety green on the hayfields, the yellow tresses of the willows in the swampy hollows between hills, the cows slowly walking out from the barnyards, chickens roaming happily behind houses. Tractors plowed wide dark brown swaths across the valleys, and the entire landscape smelled sweetly of manure. Behind one barn, a middle-aged man followed his aged father out to the field, the latter in a cap and dungarees, walking strongly but bent, holding a long green stem of something in his hand.
Crows and geese and blackbirds and hawks were everywhere, and letting you know it; deer grazed - the occasional alert ears raised to face the road - in the edges of fields and turkeys brazenly pecked close to the road. A heron flew low over our house, on its way to some morning hunting of the spring peepers, maybe, who had been so vocal the night before, and just beneath the slightly rippled surface of the lake, four carp swam lazily, their backs to the sunlight. I dug a few worms and fished a little with my mother, in the same sun, and -- other than the jet trails in the blue sky far overhead -- it felt like we could have been in just about any century of the last four or five.
My mother died a month later. I've been thinking about her a lot lately: good thoughts, but I'm incredulous that it's been ten years without her.