Sometimes what we have hidden inside comes out in unexpected ways.
Make sure what you have hidden inside is a smile.
You never know.
I typically like to photograph light-colored flowers against a dark background, like the shadows in the woods, but the breeze was moving the shadows and sunlight around and a very light patch ended up behind these cranesbill geranium flowers. I love the shade of green, and I like the effect. They are in my back yard, and have naturalized in a nice row at the edge of my “woodland garden”. The are a native wild plant, and I brought home bits and pieces of plants from old homesteads about to be bulldozed for development. They are a geranium, and if you look at the shape of the flower you’ll see a similarity with the flowers that grow in clusters in the geraniums we find more familiar. The name “cranesbill” is derived from the shape of the seeds, which grow in clusters like the buds you see on the left, a small oblong shape but with a long pointed protuberance that is reminiscent of the beak of a crane.
Join us in Our World Tuesday blog hop.
My mother died in January 2011. I first wrote this post after her memorial; today we remember her.
I lost my mother at age 85 after so many levels of illness in her life: decades of chronic conditions and surgeries, the lung cancer ten years ago that weakened and eventually put her in personal care, the beginnings of dementia two years ago, the move to skilled nursing a year ago, the weight loss and greater need for care all leading to the last few months of decline.
She was in the hospital with the last bout of congestive heart failure when she died. The night she died my brother and I went to her room at the nursing home to take the few possessions she had left there; I didn’t want to go back there if I didn’t need to, and I knew the next few days would be very busy. I was holding back sobs as we walked in, but words were forming in my head and when we entered I took a small scrap of paper and wrote a few of them down. That was enough to ease my heart for the moment, setting the intent, enough to get me through that and back home.
After several phone calls, a visit from a friend and more calls, I had my time alone and was up quite late. As I sat in the quiet of the night outside watching the snow gently fill the air and fall in a soft blanket on the ground, the poem came to me in nearly one complete piece. I carefully went inside and tiptoed to my desk, wrote it down slowly, line for line, all as if I was afraid I’d scare it away, all the beautiful words I’d been thinking, or maybe I’d break it, like a bubble. I changed very little in a rewrite. I had decided I would go through with my poetry reading, just two days after my mother died, because it was an opportunity to share her with others, and to read the new poem, and that I would also read it at the little service we’d have for her at the funeral home.
I could never encapsulate 85 years of a life into one blog post or one photo or one poem, so I won’t even try, but I want to share this. The photo above is the one we placed in our mother’s casket, her wedding photo from 1946 when she was 21 years old. The little scrap of red in the lower left corner is the shirt she wore, the one she loved best, and I knew she’d want to be remembered in it; our mother was one who could wear a red chiffon blouse in her casket and be proud.
I’ve also written a post over on The Creative Cat about this process of loss.
Without further ado, here is the poem.
Regardless of the many outstanding qualities any person may have
we are essentially remembered for only one of them.
In my mother, all would agree
this one would be her remarkable beauty.
All through her life the compliments trailed her
as she carefully maintained “the look”, her look, so glamorous,
from tailored suits to taffeta dresses to palazzo pants,
hair perfectly styled, nails manicured and painted
a collar set just so, cuffs casually turned back,
hair worn long past the age of 50,
a dark, even tan and shorts into her 80s,
lipstick always perfectly applied,
and even at 84
people marveled on her perfect skin,
dark curly hair,
and big bright smile.
I see that smile
when I see my sister smile,
and I see my mother’s active, athletic bearing
when I look at my brother,
and her gray eyes are mine.
In each of her grandchildren
I see her round face,
graceful hands, pert nose,
proud upright posture
and a million other of her features and habits
and in all of us
her wild curly hair
is part of her legacy to us.
When we look at each other from now on
we will see the part of her she gave to each of us,
this little cluster of people who came from her
and who were her greatest treasure,
and when she looks at us from wherever she is
she will know that
she cannot be forgotten.
About My Mother © 2011 Bernadette E. Kazmarski
The maple tree has seriously leafed out, and the new bright green leaves are lit by late afternoon sun and seem to glow.
Someone let me loose on a lovely sunny warm spring day in Pittsburgh with my camera. I really just wandered one area, Mt. Washington, from where you can see to the end of the world. i will actually use a number of these for a design project I’m working on. I couldn’t get a good photo of the point so above is one from last year on just about exactly this date. Below is a “tiled mosaic” of some of the photos I took today.
We mean that literally! The beans were having a birthday party! They were born today! Don’t they look happy dancing there in the dirt?
I love to see these pollinators out in force, here visiting both bugle weed and forget-me-nots.
What got me in trouble today when I should have gotten some work done inside was how cute my laundry looked with the lilac blooming about it. I have a thing for laundry in paintings, so I decided to take some time to do a little sketch. I use my limited set of pastels outdoors so I don’t lose or damage the “good ones”, so I need to touch it up with some other colors and finish off the edges.
The lilac has never bloomed this much—after about 15 years it’s finally come into its prime. The red specks in the back are the first roses on my red climber that swings over the gate, the pink flowers on the chair and on the ground are the first geraniums blooming after I’ve brought them out of their winter home in the basement. The short blue is forget-me-nots, the tall is a flowering bulb called Camassia given to me as a gift years ago, still blooming reliable each spring.
Here’s the uncropped version of the sketch.
And look—there must have been an artist in my yard!
I spend a lot of time out here when the weather is nice, it’s like an extra room—I even work out here some days if I can. I’ve cleaned it up after a few years so it’s welcoming again; now I’m hard-pressed to stay inside.
Everything is second-hand, repaired and refinished by me; some things are quite old, but very dear and familiar.
I used all the paints in my collection for a little project today, and as usual got a fair amount on my hands.
It’s a little difficult to photograph my own hand with my DSLR, so the heel of my hand is a little out of focus.
I like tulips of any sort, but most of mine have been eaten by small burrowing creatures or the bunnies who come to visit in spring. I quit replanting them in my yard, but this one single tulip continues to sprout and bloom each spring. Its leaves are smaller and shorter than the others, and the flower itself is as well, so perhaps it’s camouflaged by the ivy for long enough to actually make a showing. It’s just a tiny little thing too, just like a small cordial glass. Studying the red veins fading out into the petal never ceases to amaze me.