For Victoria

I can’t believe you aren’t here to see spring bloom, to fuss with flowerpots on your railing garden and pinch the tiny faces in your snapdragon patch.  Who will sit under the umbrella on your deck where you will sit forever in my mind, poised in your sunglasses, ready to catch the shimmer of gentle afternoon? Who will sit and watch for humming birds and comment on the progress of the Rose O’ Sharon?

Who will show me which spindly specimens of bee balm to dig up with an old tablespoon we dig out of your sink? Who will laugh and still love me when my dog poops in your backyard?  I can’t believe you aren’t here to see spring bloom.

And how can summer even think of coming without your potato salad at the welcome?    How can mosquitoes still annoy and pesticides still be avoided without your wit and wisdom?    How can the 4th of July still be a holiday?  Will the fireworks still boom?           How will the sky over Woodstock light up without you?  Summer may decide not to come at all.

And if you are not here to greet the autumn sky and post pictures of its sunset—how will life maintain its color?  How will the days begin without your puns?    By autumn will your absence settle like a chill?  Will the fading light make us wistful for your laughter and the comfort of your deep compassion?  How will the lengthening days ever pass without the light of your friendship?

Sweet Victoria, my skepticism ends with winter.  I am certain of its landing. I hear its thud; I feel its icy grip on my heart. Winter arrives with your absence, the world damper and colder without your loving care.  Who will organize the volunteers and feed the hungry? What dragon slaying saint dare fill your spot?  Who will give without thought of risk or reward and then agonize over whether she has done enough?   Who will over tip the waitress?

Sweet Victoria, my dear, dear friend, it is winter without you.

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