Look, he said, showing you his phone. This is where we were 5 years ago today. Five years ago today we were in Edmonton, our granddaughter was not yet 2, her brother unborn, one cousin living in Ottawa and a second cousin years in the future. You were here. She was wearing a pink tutu and an flame-coloured parka and the hat you made her when she was born. Last night she asked for The Seven Silly Eaters and you read that to her and her brother, along with a Curious George, and you sat on the deck with the books while the tiny screen on your phone shared their faces, the little toys and toothbrushes and strawberry-flavoured toothpaste the dentist had given them after their check-up. They showed you their teeth. You showed them the herbs you’d repotted, the iron frog in one of the pots, the clay robin in another. You are here. Just for the moment you are here.
Your friend tells you she has tomato plants for you so you stop by after your swim. She is there, her husband too, and another friend. You haven’t seen them for months. They are just up the road but it hasn’t seemed safe to see them though now that better weather is here, you think that might change. There are 16 plants, 9 different cultivars, and you find a place for them in your new greenhouse. When it’s time to plant them out, you will remember your friend at her greenhouse door, handing her husband the box to put in your car. You are here, you are in a familiar place, the scent of tomato plants green and heady, and maybe by summer you will eat together again, sit under the stars, share the goodness of your gardens.
When you wake in the night, you are in a panic. Yesterday’s infection numbers were too high, you couldn’t sleep, and then you could, but when you woke at 3 a.m. you couldn’t stop your heart from racing. So you turned on your reading light while you husband dreamed next to you, you picked up your book, Gabriel Byrne’s stunning Walking with Ghosts, and you read for two hours while the only sound in the house was you turning pages. Turn the page. You are more than half-way through the story. You are here.
You are home. Your husband has just put another log on the fire against April’s capricious cold. There is new snow high on the mountain. You are safe here where no one comes. Coffee in the pot, ginger cookies in the old pottery crock. And Sam Lee singing:
Oh starlight, oh starlight
I’m walking through the starlight
Lay this body down
I see moonlight
I’m walking through the moonlight
Lay this body down*
You are here. A little stack of books for when the children call for a story. The scent of daffodils. Walking with Ghosts half-finished. Too much has happened. You are here.
*”Lay This Body Down“, from Old Wow.