His shirt had a long stream of mud down his back, the perforated line of a fast moving bike through after school puddles. We found his lost glove in the yard, wet all the way through, bird seed collected inside the thumb.
And the sound of a bike thrown to the ground, small feet on soaked pavement, the squeak and slide of wet rubber on ceramic tile. The tender place between winter and spring, too warm for gloves, hands red from handlebar hold.
The dog stood panting at the screen door, front legs shifting, the tap dance clap of feet against floor.
We drove to his favorite spot.
The air was warm and his boots slid just below the cuff of his jeans.
He placed his hand in mine. First, for balance, the teeter totter rock between left foot, then right. His fingers soft, gently cupped around his deep constellation palms, a universe tucked quietly inside his grip.
And the sky pulled from a forgotten palette, the soft milky orange of melting sherbet across an open mouth. He pulled at my wrist as he climbed up and over. Up and over. The melting mounds of a winter etched deep in our skin.
The water pooled in the carved out places, sand pulled in like a hurricane’s eye, resting. And the sky breathed a heavy relief, the lake swallowing mouthfuls of winter’s end.
Waves caught in frozen memories of the time the water swirled and the sky broke open, when the snow fell like tossed confetti and we huddled beneath blankets, toes wrapped in socks warm from the dryer.
He ran ahead. My hand still open from the place where our world's once met.
And the sky lowered her silky veil, the blink of sunlight, of summer’s open sail. The hard places softened. An icy sheen kissed by the golden end of winter’s tight hold.
His small hands explored the thinning ice as he watched the memory of winter gently float away. He dug deep beneath the snow, pulling forgotten days between the ice. Dark rubbed stones, flooded driftwood, a pinecone shed of its protective layers. The sound the ice made when it cracked, letting the water underneath escape its history.
Joy lives in the open hands, in the light caught between fingers spread.
These are the cavernous days. The waterlogged days.
And sometimes it’s enough to just move towards the light.
The treeline ache for stretch and reach, this expansion, these hollow spaces inside filled up again.
So we quietly walked over the end, letting the beginning break open under our feet. The day wide from a winter’s long exhale.
Leave these hands empty, ravished winter sky.
His hand slipped in and out of mine.
Where are your treasures, sweet boy?
The sky hushed and widened, turning her shoulders toward the sun, casting shadows over his upturned eyes.
And his small hands rolled rocks between his fingers, a broken pinecone spun inside his muddy palm, then dropped to the thawed ground beneath us.
Sometimes I am having so much fun, I forget to hold on.