Unable to push away these persistent thoughts of snow. The television this morning shows me that by evening, there will be snow in the mountains. The first snow of the season in the Sierras. Makes me think of my brother, tall trees, lifetimes ago, snow so deep you couldn’t find the cabins sometimes. When he visits next month, it will be alone now. How long since he has been alone? It is different for me, but it is my loss too, a loss I mourn. We do not leave it that way, do not agree to go on with our lives when they inevitably go on with their own lives, separated by distance and space and intention. We even promise each other that nothing has changed, nothing will change. That we will both be the same people, the same friends, as we always have been. Always. A gesture that is meant to bind and connect, rather than split apart. It remains unsaid, unsettled, but we both know our words carry little truth anymore. Change rises and swells and our voices cannot be heard in the silence. In this moment I feel the grief strongly. For everything that came before (driving and singing ‘take the skinheads bowling,’ inviting random strangers to Christmas dinner, drinking coffee in the mountain mornings). For the choice between two things I did not ask to make and all that I now have to relinquish. Letting go as if it never mattered in the first place. For knowing that there is no other way.