Tonight, at twilight, watched the sliver of the moon grown brighter and brighter. Leaned against a giant warm boulder, little Chico safe on top, and Honey and Nubio, the black dogs, panting at my feet.

Time to stop in my tracks and breathe in the darkening landscape, the sky still light around the edges of the mountain peaks. Time to be quiet and listen for the subtle sounds in nature.

My mind flitted from past to present. Out of my memory bank came the image of an elder woman, possibly in her nineties, that I used to see sitting on the bridge on McAndrew Road, near Thacher School. Her name was Ann McGarrity. She was very thin, with a fine old lady face and two long white braids that she sometimes wound around her head. She had a room in her house filled with rescued birds. We called her the “bird lady.”

Almost every night as I walked by with my boy Bo, coming home from one of my housecleaning or babysitting jobs, there she would be, sitting still on her perch overlooking the valley below, watching the setting sun.

So now here I am, finding my own footsteps into the magic of twilight, but also following in the footsteps of all the elder women who long ago left an impression on my young consciousness. . . .

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