Spring in California

I just returned from having spent ten days in California. Every year since my father's passing away, I go back there in early April to be with my family on the anniversary of his death. I find myself in the same place, at the same time, where everything seems the same but nothing really is. The same flowers bloom - my father's lilacs and peonies, roses in the neighbor's front yard, the dogwood in my sister's garden - but I see everything through the prism of his absence. Every flower I marvel at is another flower that my father will never see.

The days hurried past and here I am back in my own home. The strongest memory I've carried back with me is an afternoon spent alone with my oldest brother. The two of us picked oranges and sat talking under the grapefruit tree. There is much that separates us, but we are bound, as if by an invisible thread, by the things that our father taught us. As I sat there with the warmth of the sun on my back and my brother's voice filling the space between us, I felt my father's absence and presence all at once, and it made me more happy than I had been in a long time.

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