Remaining

The plants around our home are now withered.

When I was very young my grandfather and I once visited his Aunt Lena. She was a very frail old woman who lived by herself just east of my grandparents’ home. I remember a Spring–the sun was overhead, as I can remember the shadows of my grandpa and myself being cast upon the clay as he was hoeing the mounds. There were probably seeds planted as well. I remember the heat inside her home that day. She gave me a honey bun, and I remember how warm it was from the heat in the house. The buns in the cellophane at grandpa’s house were much harder and not as spongy. It was a sticky mess. The contrast of the brown and very aged skin of her face encompassed by white hair is something that I distinctively remember being startled by. My young mind just didn’t understand the aging process I suppose. She had to be in her eighties or nineties. Memories of being very young and seeing the cycles of life.

Her house was torn down and the plot grandpa hoed that day is covered by asphalt. Now, only vague recollections and a parking lot is what I have to view.

A little narrative I can remember from the early childhood now shows me in my middle age the truths of this life. We stood in the sun that day and planted life that would grow, then die. As we visited with Lena and I ate the bun that took away the fear of her wrinkled face, she and grandpa conversed. The differences in our knowledge and wisdom resided upon us. The bodies–mine, young and spry; theirs, aged and approaching the ends of the run. It was all a blip in the experience of our individual lives. I see the truth through these memories, and that truth is seen through the planting of the seed that day, the faces of my blood family, and in the asphalt now covering the land we once stood on. The truth is that life will end. When I end, the memories will too.

The frost killed all of the plants around our home. I watched all of them go through their cycles before withering and turning to the desiccated remains. The same with us, I see. It stood out and presented itself a bit more this year for some reason. The death of the plants has a way of showing me the value of life. The memories of the past have shown me the importance of embracing each moment.

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