Snow covered the trail, in huge slush-packed mounds—unexpectedly. Yet I should have expected all this snow, this high in the mountains, this early in the year, three days before June. My pack carried water and food, and deet, though I could see mosquitoes were yet weeks away. And I had my hiking poles, but not the Kahtoola-spikes and boots I really needed. Pines and aspens lay across the obscured trail, and I lost myself for a while, sandal-numbed feet falling through warmer patches past my knees. I learned quickly to stay in the still-frozen shade. Simply put, I was not prepared, and fear chemicals began to ooze through my blood. But I need to be prepared. “Something’s changing,” Dad observed through the flaccidity of his smile. “I can feel it.” Still a fighter, yet resignation is percolating. I can feel it, the squishy ooze of my fear, and I must prepare. The lawyer is retained, and the CPA. The policies and accounts and trusts and burial plans are in order and understood. The stories are written and archived. I still do not know whom to call first. Yet in the warmth of late spring, Cecilia helps him transfer into his power wheelchair for a ten-minute sortie into the yard with the dandelion picker before returning to his recliner. The sun and fresh air and bird song (and dead dandelions) do him unaccountable good. My mending pile has sat staring at me for a year, the Tongan turtle tapa shirt still missing a button, my cycling shorts still torn. But I finally pick it up and thread the needles and sew on the button and stitch up the rip and close the hole in the pocket my glasses kept slipping through. Somehow today I am ready to repair them. And with my turtle shirt on, perhaps I am more ready.
(Pictured above: Donut Falls, where the cascade disappears momentarily through a hole in the rock before again emerging.)
(Pictured below: the snow-covored Donut Falls trail; the view downstream toward Big Cottonwood Canyon; Yours Truly.)