The better part of the last week has been spent with my dad in the hospital. I’ve also spent time with mom — checking on things — walking the dog.
Walking the dog in the yard, I can remember what the yard used to look like. On this day, only the crisp smell of Fall air and the crackle of fallen leaves are unchanged. I instinctively remember the soft carpet of zoysia grass — carefully spread by my dad through meticulous plugs over several Springs.
I remember the two Christmas pine trees which had spread together creating a little arbor cave — a place with an iron garden set — a place where I, then a High School Senior, contemplated my future. The pine trees succumbed to beetle disease several years ago and are gone.
The concrete walkway and circle where I rode my tricycle — crumbled in many spots — the yard now eroding away from the edge and exposing the depth of concrete.
There is the giant oak tree that my mother warned against planting — it will get too big. It has indeed gotten too big. It is so large that its roots have taken all the life out of the carpet of grass — all the life out of the yard. There is no more grass at all on most of this side of our yard. The grass and soil erode and expose gnarly roots — like the aged wrinkles of aged skin. The roots exposed like the years of family hurts — disappointments — despair — sadness.
I close my eyes and breath in the familiar smell of Fall — I hear the crackle of leaves under my feet — I remember my laughter in the piles of raked leaves
and then I open my eyes again