The Whole Problem, I tell myself, is that I live across the street from Whole Foods. I can see the outside display from my kitchen window. And the things on their patio this time of year are just, well, too tempting to resist. I also can truthfully say that they are good for my mental health. So I keep buying them, because each month they have different ones, and I feel I need to add to my collection. It’s almost getting out of control, because I don’t have infinite space, given that I live in an apartment and all. But in fact, I think I exert remarkable self control, given how many different varieties there are. But, well, I guess that depends on who is making that judgement.
At any rate, here are of two my newest acquisitions. These Dahlias are annuals, so I need to revel in their short lived beauty.
When I studied biology in high school, we were only the second class to use the textbook. That was because the electron microscope had been invented and all of a sudden we could see inside a cell. We were only the second year to study the parts of a cell and how they worked. My mathematician husband, 5 years older and 6 years ahead of me in school, went out of his way to never take a biology class. When I asked him why, he said that biology was nothing more than the memorization of long names for small things. My reaction was along the lines of, “What? Are you CRAZY?????? That’s not even remotely what biology is!”
Then I thought about the 6 years difference in when we attended school. That meant that even in his first 2 years at MIT, there were no textbooks that showed, or taught, what a cell was like and the miracle of how it worked. But adding to my complete fascination, my basic biology course at university was taught by a cellular biologist. It was supposed to be a general biology course, but to my delight, he emphasized the workings of the cell in his lectures.
Fast forward all these decades, and we now have high resolution digital photography, which can capture details with such precision that when we enlarge pictures, it is as if we were looking through a magnifying glass, or perhaps even a microscope. For me, photography has the ability to show me the miraculousness of the world, much as the electron microscope did all those years ago.
No, it’s not a wort type skin disease that oozes a honey like substance.
And it’s not a monster under the bed that ends up being cute and who likes honey. (Although if I could draw, it can think of a very very cute monster who ends up liking honey and becomes friends with a small child.)
It is something beautiful with a very odd sounding name. And which also, quite frankly, also looks a little odd at first glance. Sort of like a weird kind of cabbage. But it’s well worth taking a second look.
For the first few months after my husband’s death, I could think of nothing other than the loss of him. It invaded both my waking and my sleeping and was intensified by the bone deep exhaustion that permeated every cell of my body. But gradually, over the months, I started to notice that there began to be room for other things. I began to be able to eat with friends and stay still long enough to observe the fog slowly retreating up the hills in the mornings. It’s not that I hadn’t seen the color of the world in the early months of grieving, it’s that the color and beauty were merely observed rather than taken in. Somewhere around the seventh month since the fall that took the essence of him away, which was also the fifth month after his death, I began to notice that every once in awhile I would feel a flash of joy. I didn’t quite know what to do with that. Should I feel guilty that I was beginning to feel comfortable in the world again or be grateful for it?