It's been a year now since we lost my grandma, and I'm not going to talk about grief any more. We all know all about that. I'm going to tell you a secret.
There is a tree I pass twice a day, on my way to and from work. It sits near a vent that breathes steam, and this I think makes the air around the tree a little warmer than the air around all of the other trees. As a result, this tree always blooms first--thick fleshy pink flowers (magnolia, I think) awake and ready for the spring before anything else. That is where she is for me, in the earliest of all the beautiful things--the first trees to bloom in the spring and to be shot through with red in the fall, the first clumps of daffodils and days warm enough to sit outside, the first snow sinking softly through the yellow glow of the streetlights. And though I miss her all the time, in those moments it feels almost like she never left at all.