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
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
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
who get together several times a year
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