The Angularity is Near

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My children tend to keep their distance when I’m angling in for photographs.

I’m the one flinging my Laura Ashley floral-dressed self onto a dirty cement sidewalk, my neck and arm wildly tilted so that a shot up through a flowerbed will make dancing tulips appear to dwarf a colonial church in the background.

In less-than-waterproof boots, I wade into frigid Atlantic water to get a better view of steep isosceles cloud formations.

Teeth chattering, I dart up on teetering rusted metal bars to record the glorious scalene buffet embedded in Old Ironsides’ masts and rigging.

More than one of my offspring will pull at my arm with a drawn-out “Mom” as I dawdle in the middle of a city street, pointing my camera up to catch a tower against a blue sky bisected by an airplane’s white stream.

One angle is never enough.

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Light, Hope and Moth Wings

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It’s an understatement to say November 10th was a terrible day.

It’s the date Jim was handed a radiologist’s report and read the words “metastatic disease.” And then the devastated two of us headed out of a Boston hospital into a cold, black early night.  If any color seeped from that night’s sunset, I didn’t see it.

No light.  No hope.

If that day had not come as it did, engendering all the days in between, then this year I would not have found myself celebrating the November 10th birthday of a little girl who hadn’t yet been born on that deeply dark day.

I met her mom only because the universe’s butterfly wing machinations somehow had deposited the two of us on the same stage last spring to tell our stories about “Coming Home.”  Mine was about bringing my husband home to die, four endless short months after that November day.

And after watching her daughter blow out the candles on her Elmo cake–flickering lights laced with wishes, the very definition of hope–I headed back to a new home Jim never saw, complete with a puppy he never knew.

Not far from the hospital where my young husband received the news he would soon die, I caught a glimpse of old and new perfectly lit by a stunning sky.  The sunset lingered, turning to bright orange and purple.  Violet light burst from the base of my favorite bridge. Its cables fanned out against the lipstick sunset, echoing Old Ironsides’ gorgeously complicated rigging.

Even on this day, it’s impossible not to feel buoyed by such a sight.

Oh, and my lovely little friend, born November 10, is Lucia Esperanza.

Light and hope.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

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One Light (c) 2014

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“Into a rich mash”

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A hammering Nor’easter brings out autumn’s uncanny, tenacious survivors.  You cannot miss them.

They spill through scrolled iron grates and poke through white picket fences, onto narrow sidewalks.  Giant bleached sunflower heads sink to the ground, bending their stalks into improbable horseshoes, gateways to flower beds populated with autumn’s honeyed hues: amber and pumpkin, magenta and violet, mottled mossy green and every shade of brown.

At this time of year, flamboyant survivors are outliers: the ground is littered with the fallen.

After centuries of reaching upwards, branches have thwacked down after one final battering by high winds.   Fruit has detached and collapsed.  A blizzard of leaves still falls, spinning and fluttering like the missing butterflies which descended en masse only weeks ago.

Where leaves have steeped in rain they begin to bleed and dissolve into one another, like paper mache.  Plate-sized mushrooms–sepia tortoises with tucked heads and spongy gold underbellies–sprout and colonize drenched city lawns.

From treetops to ground, from ground to underneath.  A season of descent.

Poet Mary Oliver captured these “Days of Increasing Darkness“:

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?

So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

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