I grab my camera, slip on Mom’s gloves laying by her back door. I pass through the porch, a repository that held every pair of shoes I wore for the first 18 years of life. I remember the black-patent leather, the basketball hightops, the two-inch heels with sequin clips that I wore for my senior prom.
I push the screen door open, stepping quietly into the crisp morning, as if I could alarm the dawn.
All is quiet, except for the click-click-click of the camera shutter, and except for my own slow breath, meeting cold Iowa air in white, steady puffs.
I snap images of hoarfrost fastening itself to clotheslines and pine branches. Here in the yard, I’m a girl again. And my whole world is strung with white wispy fairies waiting for the signal to fly.
It’s beautiful, but fleeting. Soon, a breeze will coax the frost-fairies away. Or they will simply disappear under the sun, rising higher in the eastern sky now.
I cross under the frosted clothesline. I had raced a thousand relays between bedsheets that Mom clipped here with wooden pins.
I snap photographs of the old pump and my favorite climbing tree and the chicken shed. Here, we made mud-pies and pine-needle soup, which we stirred with sticks in Folgers cans. We’d decorate our tea-party table with delicate bells snipped from the lily-of-the-valley patch. It used to grow unabated outside the shed door.
I walk through a land entombed in snow, making new paths to reach the spruce that tower over graves of family pets.
Forty-one years, they made this home. In this place, I grew from baby to woman.
I linger long behind the shed, snapping a few final frames of a fast-disappearing frost.
Then the fairies and I? We both say goodbye.
On this last winter stroll through my childhood yard, I link with L.L. Barkat and her Monday series … L.L. is the author of “God in the Yard,” a book that helped me more deliberately discover God in places like dandelion patches and hoarfrosted groves.