WHAT I LOST THAT YEAR (2008)

What I lost that year

is mostly a place

Not so far from where I am,

but too far to be there

on any kind of regular basis;

I lost the bougainvillea

that I loved so dearly,

And the orange and lemon trees

which do not grow in this place.

But there have been a decade of

discoveries,

of what does thrive

such as pomegranates, apples,

Pears and cherries. Best discovery

are the poppies, growing wild throughout

the Desert–for a brief spell, but Oh-so-

beautiful to see!

I lost the Jacaranda trees

and the crepe myrtle

which prefer a more temperate climate

as well.

I lost the marine layer

that shrouds the San Fernando valley

with fog several months of the year,

but you have to love the fog (more commonly known

as the marine layer)

to appreciate this loss.

I lost the nearness of the ocean

and the airport in Burbank, California–

Who would have ever imagined

that the frequent sound of

airplanes departing and landing

could be a loss?  It was and it is.

I lost the nearness of the

San Fernando Mission and

think that perhaps, the Santa

Barbara Mission, distant as it is,

May be one nearest to us now.

I have lost being near

many girlfriends,

who get together several times a year

for lunches,

or having friends drop by

because they were in the neighborhood.

But what I lost most of all I s that image of

Bob working in the garden or doing a crossword

puzzle in the Secret Garden, planting,

trimming, cutting bringing me

the first rose of spring;

It was his domain, that piece of land,

and when I think of him,

I see him working in the garden.

Yes, you say, but look what you have gained!

And I look around and say yes,

But look at how much has been lost.

I do have the secret  garden,

rebuilt and larger,

And when I meditate on letting go,

This is where I take myself,

And I listen to the wind chimes and the birds chirping.

Transitioning is far more difficult than you can imagine–

Unless you have been there and done that.

I spent more years in the Arleta house

than any other place in my entire life.

Thanksgiving weekend in November 2018

will be the ten year anniversary of my

transition from the San Fernando Valley

to the Antelope Valley, about sixty-five

miles north of my former home.

The greatest loss, I confess, was losing

Bob in September of 2011.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to my Canadian Friends, Doreen & Harv, who took me to Pismo Beach in February of 2012, where I filled Bob’s request to put his ashes into the ocean.  I don’t think I could have gone through with his wishes if they had not been with me. So, thank you, Doreen & Harv.

Sandra Lee Smith

Written in August, 2012/Updated June 3, 2018

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