Thursday, April 15, 2010

Can You Imagine?

...I almost missed it! Spring showed up in my garden and I was so sure we were still in the midst of Winter--I didn't notice. It's good to be sure about things in life, but it isn't good to be so sure that we miss something important.
My peony plant had bloomed and I was so busy with work, people, worry and life in general that I didn't notice. What else had I missed?
I was in the garden tonight cleaning up after the dogs....quite a mundane task at best and there they were! Three blooms. Three! They were hanging their heads as if they were sad...disappointed maybe, that noone had noticed them. We all know that feeling...
But there they were, in all their glory--holding strong until I could get there. This is my peony plant that Camille offered me for Mother's Day so many years ago. When it blooms, it is a heartfelt event for me. When I hold the flower in my hand, I see Camille's face smiling up at me. So very special.
And then, one thing led to another and I started noticing the colors and blooms all around me!
I think that reds and pinks will be my colors of choice for the Spring!
More peonies ready to be noticed!
And the Camelias already out and about!
Even the fallen blooms were alive with color...

And if in my haste and self-absorption I had missed all of this? Can you imagine?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Upstairs, Downstairs

Valiant Bouzette! Always trying to keep up with Charlotte and forever trying to please her family. Just shy of 14, she is an amazing picture of energy and enthusiasm! There are some signs of wear but I keep hoping that I am mistaken, and the child in me is sure that she will go on forever. Ever the caregiver, Bouzette looks out for Charlotte, keeps up with her morning walks with Alain and keeps track of me when I am alone in the house. And she has always finshed her day by making it up the tall staircase to our bedroom so that we can all sleep peacefully together in one place.
Seeing them in their beds so cozy offers more comfort to me than a thousands words could ever begin to attempt. And seeing Bouzette on her balcony watch post just makes me smile. She is so happy there where she can see the world pass by and know that she is guarding our home and keeping her family safe.

But Friday came along and just like that, a change in Bouzette with it. No loud bells and whistles, just a quiet fatigue. Her legs became like jelly and she could no longer head up the stairs with me. She looked at me as we stood at the bottom of the staircase and made it very clear that she had lost her confidence and her footing. Her big brown eyes surrounded in white were staring at me with an apology that filled mine with tears. I went up without her and brought her bed down. She looked so grateful. And so, last night was the first night in many years, that I slept without my beloved Bouzette. She has found her new spot in the guest room quite cozy and now I must learn to accept that our life of upstairs,downstairs has begun.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lost Bird!

Does it make you laugh or cry?


Philippe Pasqua

It was a cold Monday in Paris. Camille pulled away in her taxi on the rue de Saint Simon and I did my best to hold onto my heart--it so wanted to follow. I wrapped myself tightly in my 1950's vintage Dior fur coat and walked mechanically toward the Musee Maillol on the rue de Grenelle. I didn't dare return to my room just would have been the kiss of death! Interesting then, that I would gravitate toward an exhibit that was all about death...Vanités. Honestly, I didn't think about that at the time...I just knew that there were to be jewels by the famous Venetian jeweler, Codognato and that in itself was great motivation. I am a big fan of Codognato who happens to use skulls in most of his designs.
My eyes full of tears, I entered the museum and was faced with death. I had to search my soul at first to find the beauty in it all...the meaning of it all. "Vanity" comes from the words of Ecclesiastes: "vanity of vanities, all is vanity." Vanity is a reflection on life, moralizing, which should lead to redemption according to Loic Malle, a historian who helped design the exhibition. Personally, I was reflecting on the fact that if I didn't find the jewels soon, I was going to tumble into the corridors of depression!
Cindy Sherman
I must admit that the jewels showered over and inside this skull were beautiful. I wanted to reach in and touch the emeralds in the eyes...
Luigi Miradori

There was beauty in this Cupid with wings resting comfortably on the "book of wisdom" as if it were a cushion. I learned that the tulips and the narcissus are flowers that symbolize the destruction of everything. I chose to interpret it as love until death.
Domenico Fetti

This is entitled, "Melancholy"...
Store windows all over Paris were playing on the theme. I learned that the skull is the symbol for the body, and the butterflies, for the soul.
Finally, after climbing many stairs to reach the top floor of the museum, I found the Codognato jewels. I wasn't allowed to photograph any of them, but managed to discreetly "snap" these two. This exhibit made me search my soul for understanding death alongside life. Although it may have been too much for many, for me I was overwhelmed with gratitude from all that I saw. Most importantly, it was a big reminder to live, to love and to keep moving forward. My eyes filled again with tears as I saw Camille's departure differently now--a necessity in the theme of moving forward. I came to see the jewels, and I found them in knowledge and understanding.