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The Last Summer Snow

When the cottonwoods bloom and the warm summer air whips their little fuzz balls around, it’s like it’s flurrying in July. The white snow dances through the air, immune to the brutality of the sun. It is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I often stand outside in the middle of my little postage stamp of claimed earth and let the cooked summer air heat me up like a giant blow dryer, while the scorching, dog-day snowstorm overtakes me with outstretched arms and a smile wide enough to taste the summer snow. As the soft flakes tickle my face and nose and while my eyelids blink rapidly, fending off the floating white intruders, my happiness remains even though it’s become spiked with sadness. This is my last season: the final pages of my life.

###I could tell you that I’m dying, but old people like me don’t die. We just fade away, our layers slowly blown off like tumbleweeds in a slow, steady breeze: each seed representing a sister, a friend, a husband, or even a child that the wind carries into nothingness, the earth swallowing each of their lives into a void, turning them into just memories in our heads: one that, only if you’re lucky, will stay there for a while.

###I wish I could tell you I’m grateful to be so mentally healthy, that I count my blessings every day, that I’m not lying in a nursing home bed with a soiled diaper and a drooling chin, but sometimes I envy that blankness. I have often found myself intrigued at the zombie-like stare my friend used to give me when I’d go visit her. I’d watch those miracle medications putting her diseased memory on a permanent pause, keeping her from her sobering stench of piss, shit and regurgitated Ensure. I figured that if the magical stuff circling her veins could numb her mind to where the diarrhea in her diaper felt like a soothing heat pad and the living hell in which she was rotting seemed like a weekend beer buzz in Maui, it might not be all that bad. Ignorance is bliss after all.

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