html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I usually like ephemeral things. But not right now.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I usually like ephemeral things. But not right now.

When I went to Uzbekistan, our group stayed in the mountains three weeks. One day our hosts came back to camp, excited by news from the villagers. They knew of snow leopards on a mountain close by. My fierce and wonderful professor drew in a breath. “Which one? Which one has a snow leopard on it?” I was startled; I would never think that she’d be one to lead a hike to find and bother snow leopards. Our hosts hemmed and hawed. “You’d never find them. They’re very elusive.” “Oh no,” she said. “I just want to look at a mountain that has a snow leopard on it.”

My professor loved the idea of snow leopards so much it made one stark white peak stand out from the others. There are so many ideas I love so much. A wolverine in Tahoe. Tall Chris’s sweet new girlbaby. Tom and Susan’s beautiful new boy. All my friends gathered into one place. Bats under rail trestles in the Causeway. The American chestnut. The basil seeds I planted next to the nasturtiums. You opening your door to show me in. Artesian springs in orange orchards. The long narrow table I never built for my own front porch. The aurora borealis. Some of those ideas will turn real, then vanish again. Some will never be something I can experience. Some of them I can make real, to stay with me for a season or until the clock strikes midnight.

But one idea is about to be gone and I won’t ever get it back. In a few days or weeks I will never again know that my grandfather lives in Florida and loves us with all his huge heart.


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