Families come in all sorts of forms: those who are family by birth, those who are family by choice, or those who are family by circumstance. However you experience family, I hope you are able to spend some time connecting with friends and family this Thanksgiving Weekend – on the phone, in person, or with good wishes. And while it is true that there is much turmoil currently in the world, I also hope that we each can take a moment to think of the things for which we are grateful.
I had purchased these roses because they are my favorites: a lovely peach color, lighter in the center and ringed by a deeper hue. Sometimes the outside petals have the darker color on the tips, as you can see in the bottom rose. Once I got them home, and in the confines of my apartment, I realized that they were heavily scented. Their perfume was wonderful, but I am allergic to the fragrance. My nose started stuffing up almost immediately. What to do? I thought about giving them to a friend, but I truly loved their variegated color and didn’t want to part with them. So I put them out on the balcony. It was the end of December and while it is very rare for there to be a freeze here in the Bay Area, it was quite cold. I didn’t know how the roses would react, but the one thing that was certain was that I couldn’t keep them inside the apartment. So I took a chance and put them outside, careful to place them where I could see them from the couch. I expected that at most they would last a few days or a week. To my utter astonishment and delight, they lasted more than a month. The day I took this photo would have been my husband’s and my 44th anniversary. The fact that the roses had lasted that long was as if he had sent a bouquet.
I don’t actually have a macro lens yet (I’m saving my pennies) so I have to use my 200mm telephoto, then enlarge and crop. (The image would have been clearer if I had a macro lens.) As a result, I didn’t even know I had captured this beauty. I thought I was just taking a picture of a beautiful flower that I could enlarge to show the detail. As I was looking at this photo in my iPhoto library, I noticed something was sitting on the bottom portion of the flower. I wasn’t even sure what it was at first because I was just browsing thumbnails. I clicked on the photo to see what I could do with it – whether or not I could edit it into a usable photo and voilà! C’est merveilleux! And an unexpected grace.
*This, by the way, is a butterfly, not a moth. You can tell by looking at three things.
- The antennae are smooth, not hairy or feathery looking.
- The butterfly is resting with the wings up. Moths generally rest with their wings spread out flat.
- This picture was taken during the day. Moths come out at night.
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.
I was engaged in the mundane task of washing beans for soup, when I noticed that light and water had transformed the task.
I sometimes think that as artists we are privileged to be given fleeting glimpses of the world as God sees it – full of infinite beauty in the everyday.