From one day to the next, little changes. Elk move down the mountain at night, up at daybreak. Only their tracks and scat tell us this story. Magpies pull frozen meat scraps from frozen elk legs.
Tonight, Hazel followed me across the living room tugging at my pant-legs and squawking like a baby bird, "Ma! Ma! Ma!" I nursed her fireside. She was freshly naked from a bath, her smooth, soft belly skin-to-skin with my doughy mama's belly. She nursed with one arm over her head--the way it's just long enough to reach--and played with her own hair. She was tired. I looked at her blue eyes staring up at me, her little pudgy fingers twisting in those blond locks, looked at the way her arms and legs are thinning, becoming the limbs of a toddler. Her bum and thighs are still chunky and cherub-like, but she's lost some dimples. I stroked her soft back, kissed the bottoms of her feet. She giggled and squirmed in my arms, but kept nursing. We could hear Juniper--still in the bath--having a conversation with her dad, probably about poop. And I was thinking how I wish I could freeze this moment, exactly as it is.
All the while knowing that with one warm spell, it will be gone. I was, I suppose, trying to figure out how to save the dripping water and spin it again into crystal spears.
Three days ago, I found my first grey hair. I pulled it out, mostly because I didn't believe it was mine, but then got excited. It was thick and curly.
Two weeks ago, Hazel Iris took her first solo steps when she wasn't paying attention. Three days ago, she started walking, a little, everyday. Today, she began adding consonants to the end of her breathy vowels, "hoT-h" and "haT-h". She did it wide-eyed and with her eyebrows raised like, Check this!
Three days ago, Juniper begged to go skiing. We took her in the back field, I broke trail with Hazel on my back, J bug skied between my man's legs. He held her by the armpits and she kept falling. It was an awkward, clumsy set-up. Juniper said, "Daddy, I just wanna do it all by myself." So he let her go. And she took off, smooth as silk, in my wake.