March 2020 SOLC–Day 8
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I woke this morning thinking of a grade school friend whom I know is going through a very difficult time. We’re really memory friends at this point, seldom in touch, but maintaining affection for our long-ago close friendship. We may have spoken three or four times in the past decade. I see her occasional Facebook posts, and I imagine she sees mine. I can’t remember when we last saw each other.
Last summer, she called because she was in the area, and hoped we might get together. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but we chatted for a while. She shared her news. Since then, I have thought of her and her family so often. But I haven’t called. I haven’t written. I’ve had all sorts of good intentions but I’ve been waiting to find the right words. They are so elusive.
Feeling unsettled this morning, I opted to go down to the river. I hadn’t been there in weeks. Arriving, I opened the car door to hear the birds singing, their chorus louder and more diverse than on my last visit. These days, you can see and feel the change in the air. Winter isn’t quite so firmly entrenched.
At the river, solid ice had retreated slightly, and newly opened patches of water reflected the clouds. I glanced across the water for the mergansers but didn’t see them. Had they already departed? I felt a twinge that they’d left without me noticing. More and more, I’m feeling the press of time and lost opportunities.
I huddled in my jacket. The cold this morning seemed heavier, deeper than the temperature suggested. My fingers ached. Even though the sky was awash in color, and the sun lingered just below the horizon, I thought about leaving.
I wandered a bit, here and there, my eye caught by the intriguing ice sculptures along the water’s edge or the geometric skim of advancing ice on the water. I listened to an unfamiliar bird call. A flash of movement over the river caught my eye, and I turned to see a merganser skimming through the air, heading for a patch of open water. I watched him throw his wings open and land in a spray of water. I smiled slightly, relieved. They hadn’t left quite yet.
I lingered a bit longer, watching the rising sun gild the trees, then slide up and behind a low bank of clouds. I waited for it to emerge. Taking pictures in the growing light, I noticed a few more mergansers on the water.
Then I put away my camera, got in my car, and went home to write my friend.