I don’t know if you can know how often I think of you, or how you impacted my childhood. More than either of those things, I don’t know if you’re capable of knowing anything at all from where you are. I do know that you’re on my mind quite often.
It’s strange how I remember you. There are so few things about your physical appearance I can recall. You were shorter than me and had short black hair. We have the same eyes. Grandma Marchbanks says that I look like you. There was a blouse with blue and pink flowers on it. I am sure it was your favorite, but I never asked.
However, the associations I have with you are very vivid. I close my eyes and hear the wind in the birch and aspen trees by the creek, the wind chimes on the deck of The Ranch. The walks we took when you showed me different plants and animals, telling me all of their names, have come in handy. My friends still benefit from the knowledge. I’m their “bird nerd.”
You had a book about North American plants and wildlife. I remember us using it to solve the mysteries of nameless birds we saw. I have one of my own now, but it doesn’t seem like such a magical thing now.
Mostly, I remember calm gentleness. That’s when I feel you with me; when suddenly the world (briefly) seems less crazy.
Maybe my memories are skewed. I didn’t know you as well as I would have liked to. I have so many questions that I didn’t have when you taught me to tie my shoes. Life is bigger and scarier than it was when you’d pour me a glass of milk into that commemorative Robin Hood glass.
Today marks the 10th year you’ve been gone. I’m not alone in missing you by any means. I just can’t help but wonder if you’re there with me when I see a hummingbird or a field of wildflowers.
I love and miss you.