I am a night owl, and can barely function before 10:00 in the morning. So the contortions of the middle pelican show how both my body and mind feel when I get out of bed in the morning. The perky brown pelican on the left pretty much shows my experience with morning people. “What’s the matter with you???? It’s morning, for goodness sake! You’re wasting it! What?? You haven’t had your coffee yet or something? Come on, we have fish to catch!!”
Here are a number of garden photos taken this past spring and summer. They never made their way into posts, because all of them were taken with my elderly iPhone, and they all appear rather “flat.” I wasn’t able to capture either the dimensionality or the pixelation in a way that gave each photo justice. But I remain fond of the photos, both for what they show, and for the sheer riotous color of high summer. I hope you enjoy viewing them during the dead of winter. (Click to enlarge each photo.)
A bumper sticker on someone’s beloved (very) old Jeep. He parks and reads every afternoon on the street corner. The owner is white haired and has probably owned the Jeep for a very long time. Wouldn’t be surprised if he maintains the Jeep himself.
The photo below is extremely fuzzy. I only had my phone with me, when what I really needed was my good camera with the telephoto lens attached. The photo that I was able to take showed this egret as a mere speck in the picture. By the time I had enlarged it enough to actually be able to see the bird and its reflection in the water, everything was terribly out of focus. But I love the photo, and decided to use it anyway because two things occurred to me.
1. I am a perfectionist. I have to constantly remind myself that rarely do we achieve perfection in what we do. “Good enough” is also beautiful.
2. During intense grief, everything inside and outside your head feels out of focus except the grief. Your brain can barely process what you see and hear from the outside world. Even the thoughts inside your head are totally jumbled and you feel incapable of rational thought. (Which you more or less are, actually.) Thankfully, after my husband’s death, both the hospice workers and friends who had been through this themselves told me that all this was normal. Even though that period of constant intense grieving is mostly gone, there are still moments, or days, or sometimes several days when missing him overwhelms me, and everything else in the world feels off kilter and fuzzy.
I decided that this picture, imperfectly capturing beauty, could be a touchstone for me. A reminder to not judge myself too harshly. And a reminder especially to have some compassion for that part of me that still grieves.
Almost 7 months to the day since my husband died, I am finding that a sense of peace often settles over me. I’m not saying that there is not still grief, or that I don’t still miss him. There is, and I still do. But I am finding that as time goes by, I am remembering more and more often our many decades together when he was not sick, and remembering less the awfulness of the illnesses that preceded his dying.
Last night I went with two friends to a small concert venue to hear an evening of music written by Schubert. As an Austrian composer of the late 18th and early 19th century, he was unusual in that he not only composed music for small and large orchestra, but also wrote transcendently beautiful art songs for voice. Saturday was an evening of both.
I am fortunate. Much of music speaks directly to my soul. It bypasses my analytical brain and goes straight to my heart and fills me with a sense of peace and beauty. Sometimes it feels as if the music inhabits me and I sense little boundary between me and it.
Such was last night, and I realized, not for the first time, that the intense grief of my husband’s death has continued to lessen, giving me space to exist in the world. Such is the grace of time, I think, and love. As I sat there fully present in the music, I realized that this is exactly what he would want for me. He would not want me to stop living after his death, but rather fully embrace life for the both of us.