September 9, 2020. Two weeks now since my son’s death. He was here the seven weeks prior, seldom leaving the house except for a daily walk around the block. The Labrador and two cats blinked at furniture rearrangements and accepted my son’s desire to be left unlicked, unrubbed. That said, he spent hours observing the canine/feline maneuvers and interactions. It was soon clear they were meditative entertainment through long hours of “just sitting” in the living room. I’d peek at him from behind my computer screen … or gaze at him from my rocking chair … grateful for the nonverbal companionship he enjoyed. Pets don’t ask questions.
Labrador and calico have acclimated, but I keep finding the ginger cat prowling the now-empty room we turned into his bedroom and sitting on the doorstep – signs of searching: where’d he go? For seven weeks his energy filled these rooms, and that remains. I sense a smile of sorts penetrating the space, his pleasure that this cat is seeking him. Perhaps he speaks to her in ways I cannot hear – perhaps they’re engaged in an adventure game. So much I cannot understand.
August 30, 2020. My caregiver role now over, I shift back into prior norms. With an added daily walk. Suggested for a long time by my husband as a good idea, I am now following the example of my departed son. This collage reflects images along the route that likely caught his eye.
January 13, 2019. Reflecting on my recent routine visit to the Ear-Nose-Throat doc – a remarkably pleasant space for waiting your turn – light coming through windows along the outer wall of the receptionist area – then passing through a cheerfully frosted panel into the make-yourself-comfortable area. Usually, one or two others share the wait. But this last visit got crowded.
August 19, 2017. Home from summer travels, I am finally able to connect a poem written right before departure with images I did not have along on the trip. This one’s been waiting for me to get home!
We lost our tabby Ziggy unexpectedly earlier this year. I painted the back porch rocker turquoise, all that sanding and painting a way to deal with grief. Since then, I keep seeing turquoise everywhere I turn. And every time, Ziggy comes softly to mind. One such encounter was an Eremos-sponsored day of Contemplative Poetry at St. Matthews Episcopal (in Austin) in June. I did not yet know about the turquoise table movement to encourage neighbors to sit together and get to know one another. The table pictured seemed just one more appearance of turquoise! So I sat down and communed with Ziggy about turquoise.
June 1, 2017. The last half of May was a bombardment of encounters – a piling on of understanding my own impermanence, connectedness, and choices. This poem has been finished multiple times, only to reopen given the next day’s encounter. Not all-inclusive, some pieces were trimmed to make space for others. I’m calling this complete now. (Though there could be a sequel!)
This began with breaking open during Jimmy LaFave’s final performance three days before his death – witnessing his choice to live his last year on his own terms, embracing life rather than fighting death. The wrap-up arrived as a scientific article on lichens.
References:  Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poem “Dear Christie”: https://ahundredfallingveils.com/2017/05/22/dear-christie/  Scientific American June 2017 issue, “The Meaning of Lichen”
Collage: Raven from Bryce Canyon, UT. Lichen from Red Corral Ranch, TX.
April 4, 2017. Not typical Spring Fever! My restless state stems from too many changes I am unable to influence – this urge to tackle something tangible, make something prettier, even if insignificant in the larger realm of unpredictables. Why not transform a once-stately (still-comfy) rocking chair into a bright turquoise meditation station?
March 28, 2017. I’m wrestling with the loss of our tabby a couple weeks back – just when I think I’ve gotten over it, I find myself in tears again. Yesterday I watched the calico sitting in dappled shadows – I drifted deep into meditating on her focus in the moment, pondering her intuitive feline ways of adapting to this loss of companion. I found more questions than answers, but also acceptance that I don’t get to choose when grief resolves.
December 7, 2016. The world swirls with opinions, oppositions, petitions, all manner of unpleasant realities. I wrote this poem the morning after the November US election and set it aside till I could think more clearly. I keep humming to myself the last line of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “The Messenger” – I just want to see what’s next. Then and still, the view is murky.
September 12, 2016. What are the odds a native redbud tree would follow its most prolific blooming spree three months later with sudden death? The blooms had been replaced with lush green leaves when we left on summer travels. Six weeks later, return was saddened by the lifeless brown of those leaves and the crisp snap of limbs tested. Research suggested possibilities, but the suddenness really confuses!
Saturday we got out the chainsaw and did what had to be done. Depressing. One bit of beauty remained – rings in the sliced trunk. Out came the camera and my gears began turning on a collage to commemorate the tree. Shots of the rings, of the stump, of St. Francis standing alone (no more posing beneath the redbud).
July 18, 2016. Home from five weeks of road trip – all we anticipated in terms of beauty, hiking, companionship, and music. But the bigger world threw more than a few punches at us. And I mean all of us, you reading this included. The camping lifestyle provides time and space for reflection. This is from an evening in Arkansas. The image is the view from our campsite.