In the park down the street, the tall grasses are blowing in the dark. Color lost with the light, the night is a space of sounds. In the dark, the wind seems to come from nowhere, bending the stalks like a firm hand smoothing a child’s hair. Shh. Shh. Hush.

I stood beside those grasses today with a camera. I went looking for beauty, to meet a deadline. I left home but nothing sang. Neighborhood teenagers played their social drama between benches and swings. The boy with brown hair in his eyes asked if I got any good shots. I could have been kinder in my answer.

As I was thinking about the grasses, the night, my son came out of bed. He squinted in the lamplight, climbed next to me on the couch. His arms and legs looked thin and long in his pajamas. He turned five this weekend. My five year-old son. He said he was scared because in his room there were red flashes and dust. I was kind in my answer. We went together back to his dark room.

I started crying today for Ann’s death. She was sitting two chairs from me, healthier than she’s been in months. Healthy enough to think about next time. Next time the cancer’s back. The last time. Jeff finally got beyond the parking lot of the hospice this week. He managed to walk through the front door, meet the staff. Ann said he finally knows he’s family not a caregiver. He nodded. She wrote her final Caringbridge post this week. For when it’s time. Since she won’t be able to write then. But it’s not today. They booked a flight for Seattle, started making plans for Christmas. Soon, but it’s not today.

In Sören’s dark room, he climbed in bed and pulled up the covers. I laid my cheek on his cheek, to feel its smooth warmth and to see where he was seeing red flashes and dust. This time I didn’t slough or explain but went to see. Maybe because I left home. Maybe because of the dark, maybe because of the wind. I looked. We didn’t see any. I smoothed his hair and said the only thing I thought to say, the thing I felt, the thing I knew. “Don’t worry, you’re safe. You’re safe.”  Shh. Shh. Hush.

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