The first time.

It’s been the last time for a while for some things, yes. But some are starting, or starting over. 

It’s the first time in a while for cherry blossoms snowing down onto the grass and onto my head. Petals on a wet black bough.

The first time in a while for windows open all day and into the evening, for birdsong carried into the house on a breeze tinged with flower blooms and fried chicken. Shouts of children, and wild men, and women who exercise with their faraway friends through a laptop in the sunny courtyard.

The first time in a while for the first flush of tender neon leaves shouting at the sky in the forest canopy.

The first time in a while for long walks in the middle of the day, near the end of the day, getting muddied and lost in the neighborhood national park, watching the black lab throw himself into and into and into the water for the ball.

The first time in a while for strangers passing at a distance, eyes meeting, not daring to breathe, except to whisper, thank you for your kindness. Not wondering what they mean.

It’s the first time in a while for dusting down the tops of the books in the bookshelf, because it’s there to do, and the light is falling in through the window right on it. You wouldn’t usually be there to see it.

The first time in a while to catch up with that one person. It’s been nine years, can you believe it?

So much happens in nine years.

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