It had been a long time--most of a very cruel February, actually--since I'd set foot in the park. Yesterday, I headed over. Everything about me felt feeble and bleak; even my eyes seemed weak and watery, as if the grey skies reflected off melting snow were too much for them. At first, the Nethermead seemed empty.
However, there were horses: police horses waiting patiently in their trailer...
...and three horses out for a wintry walk. Just seeing horses, and hearing them, is energizing.
And in the Quaker Cemetery, a sunny cloud of witch hazel bloomed over the modest rows of stones.
I thought of my just-lost Beloved Cousin, who took a run around the full loop of Prospect Park on her last visit with us, while we were still crawling out from under the covers. ("Where's Lynne?" I asked Spouse. "Out running around," he replied in bafflement.)
It is impossible and absurd that one of the most vital and joyful people I've ever known is gone. It felt good and right to be out walking through the mud, though. For years now, when I've been pulled down by bad brain chemicals, weak character, or both, I've invoked my "What Would Lynne Do?" test. Lynne would have gotten out in the park; the test still works, and always will, now.
A wise and kind friend of mine shared this quote, attributed to St. John Chrysostom; it is about the only thing I know for certain about what the Church calls our beloved dead:
"Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are."