We celebrate Birth and Life.
We avert our eyes from Death and Dying.
We see life in Kodachrome.
We see Death in monochrome.
After the recent freeze,
I went into the garden on a mission to study death and dying
in the plant life there.
I made many photographs of what I saw.
I want to share the death of the Staghorn here.
After the frost,
The Staghorn anchor leaves changed from tender green
to silver and gold in the sun.
The Staghorn was but an ephemera on the continuum
from stardust to stardust.
Her death a minuscule marker for those who came
before and those who will come after.
When we banish the Fear Lizard
and view death through our spirit lens,
we see the nuance of color in death as in life.
This image is as I saw it.
In death, too,
There is noise. There is darkness. There is light.
There is color.
In the end, when the leaves are shrunken, gnarled, twisted and dried
their essence is visible in their structure.
As I observed them through the lens
I was surprised and astounded by the transformation.
When they were green and broad and healthy,
the veins in their leaves were visible against the sun.
But they were only green leaves with a faint silver cover.
As I watched them die,
I understood the complex transience of life
And the incredible beauty of death.
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind
and to melt into the sun?
Note: Re-posted from January, 2014 (A favorite post that I wanted to share again.)
Making a Fist
Naomi Shihab Nye
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.
‘How do you know if you are going to die?’
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
‘When you can no longer make a fist.’
Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.
I swore that I would never post again until I answered every wonderful comment on my last post.
I am still well, but I have had a few small complications that kept me from concentrating.
I just had to share this birthday wish with you.
I laughed and laughed.
A dear friend, who shares my macabre sense of humor, sent it to me today.
Many kind friends sent good wishes.
Glenda, a good friend of more than thirty years,
brought this beautiful orchid and some tasty pastries.
We had a wonderful visit as we always do.
My sister, Linda, sent these heavenly scented lilies that have just begun to open.
I love lilies as much as I love orchids, of course, and these are especially beautiful.
I had a great birthday.
I expect that it will be my last, but that’s good, too.
I have enjoyed a great seventy-three years.
I’ve done everything I ever wanted to do.
I’ve lived far longer than I ever expected.
And I am happy.
Blessings to all of my WP friends!
Last year, the poor little clematis managed to produce one tendril.
It made it all the way to the top of the trellis and produced one blossom.
During the winter, the plant turned brown.
I assumed it was dead in the pot until I saw a tiny green leaf at the top.
The rain came and she began to grow.
I am reminded of the children’s story book, The little Engine that Could.
If I saw the little bowl by itself, I would think, “oh, that’s just precious!” It’s intricate, delicate, beautiful. But when the egg is placed on it, the beauty of the bowl fades into the background. The egg is infinitely more precious…intricate…and awe inspiring. We know that a human made the bowl and appreciate the talent it took to make it. The egg? Just wow! Made by God with beauty and intricacy that boggles my little brain. And planned to be life–something humans can’t give no matter how arrogantly we try. No wonder eggs are symbols of Easter. The more we contemplate the mysteries of creation and redemption, the more real–AND more mysterious they become. ~Donna Pote Clark (Twitter: @Donna Pote Clark)
Several years ago, a friend gave me several little eggs from her beautiful Silkie hens.
I kept three of them in the refrigerator.
I wondered if they would dehydrate (mummify) or simply rot.
After about a year, they began to rattle when I shook them.
I knew the yolks had separated from the shells.
One night, I decided to place one on an egg stand.
When I reached for the stand, I felt my thumb break through the fragile shell.
I photographed one of the eggs that is much smaller than it appears in the photograph.
There was another, even smaller, green one that some culprit must have broken
Since it disappeared from the refrigerator…
The inside of the egg looks soft and fresh, but it is not.
It is as hard as a rock.
Charlie’s grandmother, MeMe, always colors eggs for the children
in the Easter tradition in which I grew up.
There is something reassuring about the keeping of the old traditions, I think.
This year’s eggs.
MeMe was kind enough to send a photo that I requested.
The kids always forget my request!
Big Lucy in showoff mode!
Both Dragons are trying to bruminate after making valiant efforts to attract each other through the glass.
They still come out of the caves to bask and eat veggies, but few roaches.
Big Lucy is particularly comical.
Little Lucy isn’t nearly as funny as Big Lucy
But, she’s the sweet one.
She’s decided finally to be interested in Big Lucy.
After a few days of trying to reciprocate his advances,
She’s retreated to her cave.
(I’ll drag her out tomorrow for her hot tub spa treatment…)
Thanks to Dennis
I installed the redirect to the WP classic editor.
I doubt that Dennis is going to be Freshly Pressed for that invaluable post,
but I nominate him anyway!
Thank you, Guys!
I feel a bit ridiculous sharing my health status, but I wanted to share it with all of you who have been so supportive and kind to me for all of these months.
You and I thought I would be dead “within six months to less than a year” according to the official prognosis.
I had an x-ray last week to rule out a pneumonia.
The radiologist could not figure out what he saw on the x-ray.
My internist sent me back to the pulmonologist who diagnosed the lung cancer.
A new x-ray ruled out a pneumonia.
What it did indicate was that the lung tumor has grown very little since July.
I was not surprised since I am not sick.
I am as fat and sassy as ever.
Thank you for cheering me along.
It seems that you are in for a few more posts from me, after all.
I suppose I am as unpredictable as this winter’s weather!
Whoever is in charge of the Climate Control Dial
Has turned it in the wrong direction.
If I thought it might work,
I’d do a sun dance in the street.
Instead, I offer a few photos of my Valentine’s Day flower from Charlie.
Here’s to warmer days ahead!
This is my family.
My daughter, Kelli, her husband, Jeremy, and my beloved grandson, Charlie.
They are on holiday in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where they go every year
for the end-of-the-season town festival.
Charlie and his friends who live down the street.
The kids have kind of grown up together.
This year, the two families went together.
Photo of both families
ready for a snow mobile ride.
Lined up and ready to go!
Charlie and Mom rode together.
One of Charlie’s friends.
All of these kids were born in South Texas,
So, they do not see snow often.
When they arrived at Houston International Airport on the way home,
Kelli discovered that she had lost the car keys!
There was a slight delay while they waited for a locksmith to rescue them.
But, they all had a wonderful time!