(c) 2010 Jim Glennon

Jim was a photographic alchemist.  Among his skills was the ability to transform green into silver.

Quicksilver seems an apt metaphor for grief, both in the absence of bright, buoyant colors and in its metaphorical sense of turning on a dime–which of course has a particularly tiny turning radius.

But before devoting myself entirely to heavy minerals, I will share lighter, and (I hope) far lamer analogies I stumbled across while sorting through reams of papers in my attic.  Jim often would forward me links that tickled his fancy.  One of them was a list of some of the World’s Worst Analogies, which somehow had been printed out and made its way into one of the vast, random piles of paper which have since migrated to the attic.  My favorites include:

“She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.”

“The sunset displayed rich, spectacular hues like a .jpeg file at 10 percent cyan, 10 percent magenta, 60 percent yellow and 10 percent black.”

Our Backyard
(c) Stephanie Glennon

Jim and I agreed on our top pick; we had very similarly twisted comedic sensibilities:

“She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.”

So back to quicksilver–which sometimes isn’t silver at all.

Quicksilver can be the deep red of oxygenated blood.  In its mercuric sulfide form it is  cinnabar.  (The word “cinnabar,” however, never fails to conjure in my mind bellying up to a smooth mahogany bar to order a steaming iced cinnamon bun.)

As an adjective, the word is transformed to mean “rapid or unpredictable in movement or change.”

So there I was in the attic, sorting things to donate from things to hold onto.  I grabbed a pile of things to sort and found a Father’s Day drawing a son had made for Jim, when that son was so young I had to write out the words for him before he gave this treasure to his dad.  Our son had chosen to draw a cheerful green and blue turtle, so plump it was spherical, for his nature-loving father.   Seeing it turned me to liquid silver.  It made me yearn not just for Jim but also for the younger versions of these children I love so much–the children who had not yet been visited by cancer or watched a parent die.

Through the wash of tears I put the picture aside.  I will keep it.

And then I continued going through the same pile, and found those analogies, and remembered Jim’s hearty laugh as he was reading them, and even laughed myself.  A sniffly, wet laugh, but a laugh nonetheless.

(c) 2012 Stephanie M. Glennon

Author: Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She attended law school on the banks lso is an adjunct professor at a law school near the banks of the Charles River and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter and @schnitzelpond on Instagram. Bonus points for anyone who understands the Instagram handle. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2021 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with the wee Wordpress buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.

4 thoughts on “Quicksilver”

  1. You are a strong lady. This is so hard and unfair, and yet you are working through it. We are so proud of you. I would have kept the turtle picture too. No sense throwing away good art.

  2. I agree with Denise!.You are amazing for all that you have done through this horrible journey. I can’t imagine the pain. I wish I could help.

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