Sunday, September 25, 2011

Loss in the Family ~ the Man born on the July 4th

"I alone am left on earth!
To whom nor relative not blood remains,
No! not a kindred drop that runs in human veins."
~ Campbell

 Her brother passed away last week.  He was 81 and she turned 84 today.  He called his older sister (my Mom) just before he died to tell her he loved her.  It took her by surprise.  She answered "Brother, I'm suppose to call you.  I always say I love you first.  We've had this conversation every day for almost 7 decades. He laughed and said 'yes I know, but this once I wanted to tell you first'.  She was so deeply touched she could only mumble 'thanks' and 'good bye'.   He then rolled his wheel chair into his room, asked for assistance to get into bed and there, not five minutes later~ he took is last breath.  His heart stopped and he passed on into the night
She and I sit on the patio in her desert home and review that simply conversation many times a day.  Sometimes she can not quite grasp her loss and when she does, her heart shatters again.  Her memory recalls him as a boy.  She and he were the middle children in a family of four kids ~ they have been as 'thick as thieves' since childhood.  She taught him to speak and doubt it is why she went on to be a talented instructor of English grammar.  She recalls, that although they could have fierce arguments, it always ended in "I love you".  She is and he was the most formidable and stubborn human beings I've ever met. Now there is one.  She seems quite lost without her sibling.  Her memory is failing her and locks her in her grief anew...many times a day.  She asks me to tell her one more time what has happened. Each time I brace for that shutter of sorrow that engulfs her.  Slowly, oh so slowly she begins to comprehend that he is no more.

Oh, God! it is a fearful thing
To see the human soul take wing
In any shape, in any mood!"

Good bye Uncle.  You are mourned here.  You have joined  your Parents, your older Sister, your Brother, and your friend, my Dad.  We few who remain shed tears and some soft laughter remembering yesterdays.  But most important of all, your sister whispers "I love you" quietly into the night.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rekindling a Friendship

"Teach this triple truth to all:  A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity." 
 ~ Buddha

Spent the weekend with a friend in Oregon.  She and her husband have a lovely retirement home just south of Portland.   We had some serious catching up to do.  My friend is a well-educated and talented nurse.  She is also a talented crafts person.  Both she and her husband have a good eye for art.  Their home has a casual, creative charm.  She and I had not seen one another since that dang knee surgery last summer.  She lost her job in a political move that happens in health care and almost every where else these days.  We had to figure out if we could reach across the gulf that ensues the termination of employment.  As it turns out (to my great relief), we were able to start off where we left off.  

"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth."
~ Robert Southey

I wonder at the silent attributes of friendship.  In this case, we two women understand the determination it takes to face the challenges of caring for frail elders: we know the difficulties of dealing with families riddle with guilt, the suffering of their frail aged, the demands of health care corporations and quirks of regulatory folks.  Still we laughed.  In the heat of late summer (it was nearly 100 F) we found a shared humor and embraced it.

There is a comfort in knowing that time leaves the gate ajar.  The value of personal kinship outweighed corporate decision-making.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Brenda Photo Contest: the Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Star Sirius Canis Major

"The Dog Constellation Canis Major is a Companion to Orion
The Dog Days of Summer have been around since ancient times. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and other great civilizations have all observed the rising and setting of the Dog Star Sirius in its constellation Canis Major, and its brightness in the sky, to predict the weather and other events."
Okay so this is past mid-August (someone out there in the wider world declared that it ends mid-August).  It is hot here in Western Washington.  We've had ,what, maybe three weeks of warmth but the great mumble has begun...we miss the rain.  I can hardly believe my ears!  'Miss the rain?'...have you all lost your collective minds???  In just a few short weeks we will un-bury the fleece, dig out the Vitamin D, check the bulbs in the light boxes and begin the LONG DARK RAINY SEASON!  I say celebrate these warm days.  I admit it does not hold a candle (a winter word if ever there was one) to the intense heat breaking records almost every where else ~ but it feels hot here on Puget Sound!
Here is my nod to Canis Major and the Dog days!
The heat is as unkind to the weeds as it in to the lawns:

But there is still fun in the air!

Ah summer fairs:  hot, sticky, delicious and memorable.  I saw and listened to Gene Autry for the first time when I was a young girl at a fair and rodeo in Utah!  Here's a Youtube link for those of you who have no idea of whom I am write! :)
and finally.....

Food booths prepared for hot, hungry crowds!   
Kettle Corn please!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Waning Days of Summer

"Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams..."
~Percy P Shelley

Drove up to the White River National Forest over the Labor Day week end.  Rainier looms over the landscape.  This magnificent volcano is still covered with snow.  We who live ibetween the shadow of this mountain and on the edge of Puget Sound have had little summer this year.  This week will be hot (in the 80s and 90s) during the day but it cools down nicely at night.  We awaken to summer flowers and 40F temperatures.  It gives summer a dreamy quality.  The lower mountains still have patches of snow.  The bit of snow in the photo above was found at 3500 feet of elevation.  Mt. Rainier at it's full elevation (the Columbia Crest) is 14,000+ feet.  There are several glaciers on the mountain ~ leaving the mountain snow covered year round.

The road side was littered with colorful wildflowers.  It gives lie to the terrible summer the rest of the country has had.  We are lulled.  Surely nothing bad will ever happen here.  Another siren's song!  Still there is comfort in golden yellow and delicate purple.  

I love the sight of the mountain in the distance, perhaps more so on this visit to the Park because the Mountain seems even more impressive on a warm clear day.  It sits large and protective and for a few moments all feels safe.  Never mind that on the roads in the valley below the mountain there are volcano evacuation case Rainer blows his top.  :)  The fantasy of safety is to lovely to simply hand over willy-nilly to Reality.

"The summer dawn's reflected hue
In purple changed Loch Katrine blue,
Mildly and soft the western breeze
Just kiss'd the lake, Just stirr'd the trees..."