The intricate hand-knotted lace of a Victorian dress has withstood well more than a century’s less-than-careful handling. Until a friend of my mother unearthed it from articles crumpled in a chest she picked up at an auction, the wedding dress she loaned to me had not been tenderly cared for in quite some time. Yet its beauty endured, without a single tatter or rip. The dress is speckled only with a spray of nearly imperceptible tiny sepia dots.
Tonight I noticed a dusting of tan freckles on the ivory skin of a little boy who is dear to me, as he regained his senses in a recovery room after surgery. As rose began flushing again in his cheeks, the dusting became less pronounced. He grabbed onto my right hand with his small left hand, his middle finger-tip glowing red from an attached monitor, then turned his head woozily to the recovery room nurse and thanked her for doing her job so well. And I realized that delicate face, with its deceptively vulnerable, sleepy-looking light-lashed pale blue eyes, belongs to one seriously tough little dude.
Outside, branches relieved of their leaves intermingled in sharp outline against a sky caught between dusk and daylight. But the seemingly delicate lattices weren’t really delicate at all: the bark clatters in clashes wrought by high winds, and those interwoven trees will withstand another harsh winter before being covered again in ephemeral green.
I’ve been feeling a bit delicate this week–in the metaphorical sense. I hope perhaps I’m also tougher than I think.
I am not one of those people who never makes the same mistake twice.
I took the wrong exit once again this week and found myself stopped in traffic at a long red light at precisely the same spot where I had taken a picture in July. The earlier picture, which I took on my way to a wedding, is bathed in silver and gray.
Just as I believe there are good and bad kinds of haunting, there are both wistfully sad and hopeful forms of renewal. Sometimes they lie in the same place or event.
My lawyer-author friend has written of the renewing power of immersion in blue water: “How often do I douse myself in water, hoping the submersion will preserve me, reconstitute the days and years that have simply flown by…” These are of course the same waters which have caused her part of the world and others enormous devastation. Continue reading “Renewal: Bathed in Blue”
“Well you went left and I went right As the moon hung proud and bright You would have loved it here tonight”
These lines are from Mumford & Son’s “Home,” a song Jim did not hear from here.
The beagles were anxious to explore their new neighborhood today, and I was eager to take my new camera with us now that my daughter has explained to me how its contents magically can be downloaded. (Evidently I dropped the old one on cement one time too many. It has solidified in place, its lens half-open but unseeing and immovable, like Lot’s wife looking back towards Sodom.)
I got this small point-and-shoot camera just in time to capture some last photographs outside our old home along with first pictures from where we have relocated. I realized only after my daughter explained the magical downloading process that all 366 of the photographs I have taken with the new camera are of the outdoors–as Jim’s almost invariably were.
The day I left our old home for good and did not look back, I had taken a final shot of that persistent lone heart-shaped hydrangea on a bush Jim had planted. It blossomed first in cornflower blue, and I was certain it soon would be joined by abundant brethren.
But two more seasons passed, and that single heart remained alone among the green. It recently turned a Victorian red-violet as it prepared to return to sepia.
On the tiny lawn outside our new home I have placed a heaping helping of the season’s political signs.
“Think you’ve got enough signs out there?” my daughter teased me, as Jim would have.