Walking alone on Outer Drive, a single snow flake falls through the chill autumn air, lights on my hand and melts away.
Glancing down, for a moment, the hand I see does not belong to me. It's Mother's, still sporting the flashy cocktail ring she bought at the pawn shop in Nashville so many years ago.
Garish and tacky, the ring is the sort of bauble a Dolly Parton wannabe might have worn before falling on hard times. We used to make fun of it when Mother wore it. She wore it every day; she loved it.
She gave it to me before she died. Nobody else wanted it. It’s still garish and tacky, but spectacular in its own way. Today I’m glad I have it. I miss her.
A noisy UPS truck hurtles past and I snap back on the elastic treadmill of time. Once again, the hand wearing the flashy ring is mine. Inhaling the fragrance of dying leaves and damp sky, I turn toward home, passing the houses of people I know I'll never meet.
As I walk, I think, “Traipsing through time is all any of us have. That’s life; there isn't anything else.”
Almost home on Wendover Circle, a bird seems to speak from high in a tree. “You have miles to go before you sleep,” he calls. “You’ll get there soon enough, old girl, but not yet; not today.”