Today, Aki and I walk with an old friend on a beach trail we have taken many times. The little dog likes it that the friend always walks by my side. We are the perfect charges for a herder like Aki because we heard ourselves.
A strong autumn sun lights up the dog wood leaves and the party colors of an ever-present raft of harlequin ducks. My friend and I talk about people we know and those we knew who have passed. Mostly, it’s a conversation as bright as the sunlit dogwood leaves but when we stop to watch a hermit thrush watch us, the mood darkens. Words, not the bird’s appearance bring the change: those that acknowledge loss. But they are followed by shared, happy memories of the man who would have loved seeing the thrush.