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  • Writer's pictureShey Yearsley

A Gift from Brook

Dear Brook,

Yesterday, with the sky turning cold and gray, Zeba, Tonneson and I walked down to your garden. The beds you’d cultivated for so many years lay long and bare, prepped for another planting season soon to come. In that hour of fading daylight, I felt the sliver of warm spring days give way back to the chill of winter. I continued to pull Tonneson’s hood back up over his bouncing blond curls as the tug and pull of sun and chill played itself out on our bare faces.

Zeba needed to be fierce. He grabbed a stick, a baton he and a neighbor had carved together. My immediate instinct was to call him back… to admonish him for breaking things that might not need to be broken, for swinging so wildly when people were close. Then I heard your voice in my head “no problem” light, and calm. I sat back, pulled Tonneson out of the way of Zebas stick and just watched. I marveled at his ability to hit everything he threw into the air— no matter the shape or size. Tiny wood blocks shattered in the air, flew across the driveway, drifted over the fence. Finally, I was able to see him more clearly and find projectiles of my own to share with him.

As the sky grew colder, we walked together to your grave site. Zeba asked: “Tonneson, do you know what this is?” And in your light, matter-of-fact tone, Tonneson replied: “yeah, this is my papa’s park.” Brook, you now have a park. We placed our hands on your moss-covered stone, touched all the small offerings, lit a candle and remembered the time we shared a camp fire and roasted slices of salami together. Zeba made incense of some lichen.

Wandering ever closer to our home, none of us felt ready to return to the warmth. Zeba started building a fairy ring behind the trampoline. Together we pounded four stakes into the cold ground and connected them with a ring of stones. I placed moss on top of each stake and Zeba got some incense from Bumpa. We lit the incense while Zeba found plastic superheros and half buried them around the outside of the ring: “It’s the land of fallen hero’s” he told me. The scent of the incense was cut by the chill wind blowing in. I wondered what gifts might be left at Zebas ring.

Well, Brook, we all know you’ve never been stingy in your gifts. This morning, we woke to a world blanketed in snow: great, heaping mounds of it blunting all the edges and making everything still and quiet. Zeba got his wish: to have a snow day. I realized I don’t want to let this winter go—your winter. I strapped on some skis and shuffled out into the stillness. This was the kind of quiet that dims all sound so that all that’s left is the soft murmuring on the inside—if I quiet myself enough to listen. I stepped through the deep snow, watching it shift and shake under my ski tips. I stood quiet under the tall, heavy trees. Listening. I felt the pressure of time, commitments, the day beginning. But for those minutes alone and quiet in the woods, I felt peace and love. So much love.

There is so much love here for you, and we’re finding or ways to live in it while rewriting the way we must be with you. I love you, brother. Thank you.



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