Years ago, while checking out the American Studies program at Brown University (back when I thought my life path was to be an academic), I stayed with my mom’s cousin Patti in Providence, Rhode Island.
Patti was fighting what would prove to be a losing battle with lung cancer at the time. She was practically bald, and thin as a bird. But her spirits were high — Patti had an indomitable spirit.
Signs of Spring were just peeking out, and the birds were just starting to return to the trees in her yard. I remember sitting in her kitchen as Patti ate some stew from the food archive that her team of friends and neighbors had been delivering.
“Listen to that,” she said. “The birds are finally coming back.”
Living in California, we have songbirds year round. I didn’t realize how very special that was until that moment — one of my last with Patti.