I waved away gnats, an instinct I haven’t practiced since last October. I stepped over dried mud and looked at the sticks that would offer forth raspberries in a few months.

Cataclysm has visited my life with the death of my mother last week from an unexpected, major stroke. For years I hoped that she would slip from this world without pain. I just didn’t expect it to happen that way. And yet—this is what answered prayers look like.

Living things die. People must die. Animals and plants must spring up, ripen, and then decline. The first thing a living creature or plant offers? Optimism.


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