We have had houseguests for the week. B’s brother and brother’s girlfriend shared our time in the garden, in our favorite eateries, in our little home.

And the space, which sometimes does not feel like enough for the three of us, fit the laughter and conversation of five just fine. It made me remember, after a long closed-in winter, how precious community is. And how we must welcome it into our space more frequently.

With houseguests now gone, the house feels empty like it hasn’t before. Debris that I did not notice under the collection of travel paraphernalia that covered it, now stands open, uncovered, marking the absence of visiting things. We sweep up, we collect the odds and ends, we erase the evidence of the visit and replace it again with the polished every-day.

I love the quiet of a clean space, but am forced to reflect on the value of a wilder one, filled with the murmur of more life than we have on our own.

We miss you.

And we take the challenge you have left us: to join the world, to love better, to laugh more, to tell stories, to read aloud, to listen.

The spring, necessarily, invites this. Our neighbors, white faced from the indoor lighting, are out in their yards, as we are, working beds and reddening their skin up. And we greet each other, finally, and lament together over the long winter that kept us apart. And we hope together, for the waking up of spring things and the time we will share in each other’s company.

When dusk has solidly settled in, and graced us with a black-skied spring rain, we are finally convinced away from the budding smell of greening things, back in to the dry quiet of the house. And we fall into it, to sleep, exhausted in the richest of ways: from company and the turning of soil.