A return to Topeka


I don’t remember who first noticed the nests – two of them, huge and a couple of stories above our heads. These were no nests that you sometimes see on the sidewalk fallen from the trees of my east Lawrence neighborhood; these reminded me of the ones I’ve seen from a distance on my paddle board that house the most majestic of birds.

But we didn’t linger too long trying to figure out what kinds of birds these were that were peeking out of their dwelling. One flew out –  a heron of some sort? My sister Bethie did show us the bird app on her phone where she enters where and when she saw particular species. We talked about how old we’re getting that we even care. We noticed the mess underneath that would require street cleaners. But we had not come to admire the nature around us. We had come to contribute to it.

I wrote about my mom finding my dad’s ashes recently. Twenty-one years after his death, we had returned to my neighborhood to scatter them. (Is this illegal? I don’t *think* so.) First I had these beautiful pendants made by Rachel Sudlow who used some of the ashes in the glass.


We gathered early but it was already sweltering. Bethie went first, because she always goes first, and then Nikki went next, and then I emptied out the bag of physical matter that was once our dad. It wasn’t sad, in fact we told stories and waked through the neighborhood in the middle of street like we were in grade school. I took this selfie in front of the house we grew up in.


I feel lighter and grateful. An now I’m thinking of those birds, high above the humans of my old neighborhood, and marvel at all they get to see.

Love, Molly



One Comment Add yours

  1. Bethie says:

    A lovely morning. We should do it yearly. Imagine us in our eighties, me with a cane and Nikki on a scooter, ambling down the middle of Woodlawn making traffic go around us.

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