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transitions are stumbling blocks disguised as bountiful color, a woods full of vibrancy and beacons of light. transitions are difficult as we shift and creak and grow and change from one state (of mind) to the next. one season here, gone, another one close on its heels. transition in mood, in school, in family, in life.

river and i received sad news the other day… the unexpected death of a friend. yes, it’s always lurking, but damn if death doesn’t just floor you when it’s such a surprise. a text. an obituary. a shared grief on a saturday morning. i feel as though i took it especially hard. having recently met, the three of us had a connection, a foundation, a place to jump in and move forward with positivity. you know friends like that? they are dear. and they become dear to you pretty immediately. they are father figures and role models with a listening ear and a like mind. now it’s gone. (as fast as it arrived) now the tears roll and i get hung up on the very last words spoken. the eye contact from river (nonexistent with most everyone) the goodbye that felt so big as we were saying it with smiles. only later to realize that it was truly a big goodbye. the last one.

oh my heart.

this was the first person river has known to die. he had just lent us an old black and white movie because there was shared laughter and humor in slapstick, in the three stooges, in felix the cat, in the slow paced movies of a different era. these mismatched pair of people from vastly different generations… meeting in the middle and recognizing similarities. this was the first person river has known to die. and i can’t help but think it’s somehow preparing us for another, closer to home. not every death represents my mother, but it hangs in the shadows. and the conversation i have between friends analyzing which type of death is worse.. a long drawn out death or a sudden shock to the system. they both shake the foundation. they both feel unbearable, and yet we carry on.

so, yes. transition. from this to that. from life to death. from a long drawn out illness and impending goodbye to a quick and painful shock of a life taken too soon. river sits on my lap and we talk about it, his back pressed to my heart. my tears rolling down onto his shoulders. he has questions and i have no answers. and that’s life. it’s precious and fleeting and not always fair. but we gather up these memories and carry them with us, thankful for the short time we had together. wondering how and what and why it was that life brought us together so briefly, leaving us wishing for more time and guidance.

i take a walk in the woods with puffy eyes and a red blotchy face. i collect leaves. simple things to bring about beauty, like moments of crunching leaves and late afternoon sunshine, and a collection of colors to adorn our melancholy.