Blanche and I are in her garden. The Iowa air is full and rich, redolent with the scent of thick black earth, green growing things, the sweetness of flowers. When I get close to her, I smell her sweat, see it running in rivulets in the multiple creases in her skin. Her brown eyes under curly eyebrows are fierce as she flails away with the sickle at weeds who have the audacity to grow in her garden and bury the potato patch. Her whole arm rises and falls, sails of flesh hanging from her substantial bones. I am fascinated by her, how she can be so old, her body with its variety of wrinkles and drapings. She is more alive than anyone I have ever known, passionate about weeds, about her tomato plants and her raspberries, her strawberries, her woodpile, and the fire she builds each day in her wood cook stove. Blanche is the hero of my life. Blanche is with me every day, even now.