How is it women of the village know to come? But they do, one by one, to sit with Balboa, with our memories of her childhood, moments of laughter and tears. We breathe. We are present, witness to her grief, sharing her sorrow.
We are miles from the Village–Janine, Sena, Cheyenne, Ruby, Merilee, Betty, and I–on our first campout of the season. Minimalists, we sleep on bare ground, our bags zippered close for warmth, thick trampled grasses beneath for cushion.
It is a gorgeous, sunny day in the nursery. Gauzy white curtains flutter at the screened sills. The windows across the western wall are thrown open, letting the spring breezes through–as well as the scents of fresh laundry flapping on the lines and apple pie baking in the kitchens.
A light fog rolls in from the west as I wait my turn for the soup tureens. I sniff the air. Co-mingling aromas of garlic, oregano, thyme, basil, and fresh tomato call to me the moment I step inside the door.