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Earlier today, I was thinking about my sister, of a chapter just beginning new for her as her youngest son heads off to college. She’ll be fine because he will be. She’s given him all he needs to be successful, even if it means pushing him from the nest.

But then I arrived at work, and in a little bit, I heard the tragic news that a co-worker’s husband had been killed over the weekend when he lost control of his bicycle on a downhill curve. He was 56.

Yesterday, my nephew spoke of a lesson he shared with his Sunday school class – of the fleeting nature of life – a vapor.

And I am reminded (more often as I get older) of the truth in that analogy, but also another. That the vapor, while momentary, lingers far beyond the length of a day, a lifetime, a season. It can return at the first hint of blossoms in the spring, a cedar chest opened years later, a stutter of memory, as brief the scent of perfume pressed into pages nearly dried.

To be honest, the combined scent of lemon and moth balls can bring me near to tears.

We are never far from the things we love, regardless of what we might tell ourselves. The things that matter become a part of us. A song replayed can break my heart new, and yet, I find myself drawn to the melody sometimes.

Knowing full well what will happen, it is a welcome break for it is a reminder of a truth I dare not deny, as permanent as the scar that lines my thumb, a name forever on my lips.

softly now
as breezes blow
to heal the ancient pines
names as dust repeated
soothe again
rhythm born of rocking
once beneath the stars
a hand to hold
when all the lights
go dim

. . .