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My Mother in Summer 

 Funny how we sometimes dream of summer in winter and winter in summer… I think I am doing that now on this gray day in late January. I managed to walk around in the swampy yard yesterday, capturing a few moments of the sun’s stingy rays, hurdling through shallow puddles of rainwater, too much moisture for the mighty Earth to absorb. My little duck was having a wonderful time in the said puddles, flapping her wings, and splashing in these welcoming pools of water. I suppose there is always something positive to find in our days; my little duck made me smile. My chickens were not so happy, however. Finding bugs to snack on is not an easy job these days…life gives and takes.


The bit of sunlight began to fade, and I went back inside, for it was still a little cold from the recent temperature drop, at least I thought so. Inside was still and winter. Nothing was on the stove, the laundry room was quiet by now, and the TV was off. I could hear only the familiar chimes from the mantle clock and the seconds ticking on the small red clock near my desk. I had, by now, forgotten the brief happiness my little duck had brought me and became more introspective. Oddly, I began thinking of my mother in summer. I thought of her in a way that grabbed my heart, an unexpected throwback, a resurfacing of grief that hit me suddenly, a moment that made losing her raw again, nearly twenty-seven years later. 


I remembered the seemingly endless summer days when I was a young mother. I spent much time with her; she was there to help me with my small children and listen to my life. Summer was hot, she wore sleeveless button-down shirts and pulled her hair up. And she made Kool-Aid for my little boys, drip coffee for me, and pinned my little girl’s busy bangs up in a pin curl, pulling a random bobby pin from her hair to do that. She sat on her front porch swing with Elizabeth while she listened carefully to all I had to say. 


I think of those gentle moments that are visiting me on this winter day and I know we all share this kind of loss. I ‘go with it', I let myself become sad and I saturate my mind and memory with her and try hard to remember more. A jumbled scattering of her words floods my thoughts and I recall the seemingly little ‘nothings’ she spoke and know now, those ‘nothings’ were messages for me, things to remember for later when she would not be here…deeper and deeper I go.


After a while, it becomes enough melancholia, and I am here again on this January day, in my life, feeling a bit more like my little duck…happy to have taken that somewhat sad but reflective journey and grateful for the wonderful memories, always wishing there were more. 



I suppose our lives become a collection of moments, seemingly small moments that we stitch together, as they become our tapestry that later becomes our memories.  These memories surface unexpectedly, especially in winter when the world is quiet, and my mother in summer becomes a small dream I have in winter…

Pam Shensky

Berry Tales

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