Early May and the blackberry blossoms begin to show their strength. Small white flowers full of character, opening steadily through gray days and chill nights. Gone one year today you have missed two births, a handful of weddings and the death of a child – it nearly cracked the foundation some of us built our lives upon, but there is steel in this clan and the structure endures. The itinerant mallards have returned. No nest, again, just a week or two in the pond fertilizing eggs then off to find places the fox cannot go. I was born in this place four decades past, while you were at war with an enemy you could not see or hate. I asked once why you did not hunt like the other dads, “Everything dies soon enough.” On this one day I will dwell on my sadness. Then let it pass into the fondness of memory for another year, and I thank you for that, you taught me how to be in this world, how to see what matters is what you hold onto, and how to let go when it is time. As I sit among the blackberry bushes watching this spring ritual unfold, I think how good it feels to see the ducks again.