Waves of color at sunrise and sunset, undulating curves imprinted upon salt marsh grasses by since-stilled winds. Rainbow glass swirled into peaks and valleys. Frozen waves of sun-gilded snow. Sky art formed by colorful canvas spun by wind into billowing swells.
After a winter that wasn’t after all without end, a first wave of flowers came in crocus form: dazzling white, lavender, and bright yellow. Almost as quickly as they sprouted they were gone, replaced by a blitz of daffodils, followed by swaths of lipstick sunset tulips.
Suddenly it is August, and every few days it seems a new platoon of flora cycles through. Delightfully descriptive “curly fries” Hosta plants wave in a light wind. Today is a riot of pastel hydrangea and sturdy day lilies, their gracefully ruffled petals edged in a sea-foam of sunlight and shadow.
I don’t know what it is about waves.
A wave tickled my heel as I faltered in reading a poem about a turtle to my children a year after their father died. The next year, just after a seashell of his ashes wafted into the ocean in Dublin, a gentle wave deposited at my bare toes a patch of seaweed in his trademark green, framed around a distinct heart-shaped space.
Perhaps inspiration comes from waves’ movement and light and soothing rhythm, like a heartbeat or a summer bird’s song.
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.” Her story was about bringing her newborn daughter home from the hospital. Mine was about bringing my husband home to die, four endless short months after that November 10th.
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.
Within sight of the same Boston hospital where my young husband received the news he certainly 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.