Of all the treasures we lost because of Irene, it’s the river bottom land that I walked nearly every day of the 18 years we’ve lived here that I miss the most.
Try as I might, I cannot become accustomed to the way it looks now—covered in three feet of silt, gobs of grit-filled leaves strangling the branches, trees down everywhere, huge piles of debris.
To us, this was a paradise, a small green place where we recognized and looked for certain plants at certain times, where we watched the population of waterfowl grow, where we watched pink sunsets from rocks that jutted out into the water. There was a small tree, most likely a dead staghorn sumac, that loomed over the trail at a certain point. When it snowed, the white drape made it look like a magical dragon’s head.
Yes, I know. I am still grieving.
But some days, I just have to focus on the fact that the sun still rises every morning, that Orion has wheeled out of the sky until the weather cools once again, that the phases of the moon do pass with a reassuring regularity. Last night, two bright planets stood together in the western sky, reminding me, yet again, of my place in this wondrous universe.
The nature of the world took away the special place I loved so dearly. But the Great Mother herself reminds me every day that she has not abandoned me.
But there are times when this kind of gratitude comes hard.