Passing the torch and ruminations on beauty

Beauty.  There is so much beauty in the countryside that it can take my breath away.  But I am a sappy, impractical person like that.  I’m the one that pulls off to the side of the road simply because the sunlight is hitting a field of goldenrod just so, highlighting the variant shades of green in the backdrop, and putting the distant rolling hills into dusty highlights. Often I will try to photograph these things, but it simply doesn’t work, and I end up just sitting there, trying to burn it into my memory.  I miss this aspect of country living, of never knowing what will be around the next corner you turn.  Of course, sometimes it’s a tractor at a dead stop, at which time my daydreaming nature bumps up against real life rather quickly 🙂

Sitting here on the last night of occupancy of the ‘not-forever-house’, I’m reviewing the month I’ve had here.  It feels like it was mere hours.  How could it be a month already?  A month in the micro-haus goes by far more slowly.  I’ve stored sight memories up for the leaving; something to revisit when I’m driving to and fro to work on that hour commute each way.

Common weeds standing dryly as sentinels on the roadside, which, in the early morning sun and dew, transform into something visually delightful.  Spider webs inside of the V of the weed’s skeletal frame fill in the space like lacrosse stick baskets, holding the layer of dew in the web which shimmers and sparkles in the early morning sunlight.

There is the red fox, slinking through the pines on the side of the road, quietly and efficiently padding its way somewhere important that I am ignorant of.

There is the herd of deer that I startle in the dusk as I come around the corner from my neighbor’s place. Seven graceful, lean bodies, divided into a group of three and four by my presence.  It’s too early in the season for me to identify the male as they whirl and take cover after a split-second freeze.  Fluid grace in motion.

The pair of cardinals, mated early in season, that glean the former hayfield behind my house and  visible from the kitchen window; she sifting the blades, he watching over her in brilliant scarlet, their constant chirping communication flowing back and forth as they forage.

The vociferous little male wren, gathering ungainly bundles of nest-building materials and bringing them diligently to the little female as she hops in and out of the bag of potting soil holding my two-year old potato experiment.  She accepts or sometimes rejects his offerings, their running chirps, whistles and chirrups back and forth acting as a stream of communication as they work together to construct a nest.

My little hummingbird visitor that rushed me on the porch in the dusk mist, flying right up to my face, to advise me that those feeders have been empty long enough, thank you very much.  He returns each day to see if I have become more diligent since his advisory.

The stunning green canopy of a back country road slipping past me as the stereo played music so fitting that I could not have planned it, reaching a crescendo as I entered the covered bridge over a sparkling river, resplendent in the sun, casting shiny ripples over the surface.

There are the beautiful, startlingly blue wildflowers in the median as I traversed Kentucky to see a dear friend, one that I get so few face-to-face meetings with that each one is a perfectly wrapped gift that she and I share, no matter the activity.

The hues of green, from silver-grey under-leaf revealed by the breeze, to the  muted dark green of cedar and the bright green new growth on oak and poplar, indicative of the marching progression of spring across the forests.

Goldenrod and ox-eye daisies scattered across the open fields like clumps of chatty girls in a school play yard.

The voice of a new friend proclaiming the place a perfect homestead set-up, validating the deep love I had of this little piece of paradise.

I am a practical person’s nightmare, or perhaps, if I wish to think more positively, their connection to another world, as I go about feeling and imbibing my way across life, soaking it up, savoring it, and often neglecting the more mundane things that need doing. In my line of work lies the responsibility to be so practical, so logical, so task oriented, that once released from work the right-brain side of me rushes in to get its share of attention (and I confess, often intrudes into my work day as well).  There is gentle, ironic humor in the fact that years ago on my Stanford intelligence test, I scored so high on logic, enough to garner an invite from Mensa.  To anyone who knows me well, that facet of me remains terribly hidden, as my expressionism is in music, beauty, scent, words and touch – everything related to feeling. I often think it was perhaps a simple aberrance, maybe I was just having a good left-brain day?  But no, even back in junior high, my ASVAB scores ranked me high in logic.  So where does it live in me?  I don’t see it and often do not feel it when I *need* to draw from it.  Perhaps in that small corner of me that I never give to anyone; the self-preservation mechanism that will at all costs protect the organism – me. Ah well, in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter?  Life is for living illogically, for if we only camp in the logical world, there will be no mystery, no music, no beautiful things that exist simply to be beautiful.  No pause to marvel at the delicate stamens in a pink azalea bloom, no amazement at life and all that we rush by daily in our ‘living’.

The end is here.  Documents are notarized, electricity transferred, keys provided.  SunFlower Solace is mine no more.  May it bring the new inhabitants the joy, delight, wonder and bemusement that it did me for my shorts seasons here.

On the agenda tonight is a final blissful and pampering soak in the tub that I will miss so much, to soothe and wash away this feeling of loss.  The Honda holds much less than I anticipated; much that I thought to retrieve from the scattered remnants of my life will stay behind. Probably just as well, since I really have no place to put much of anything. Heart memories they are, buried treasures within my being.  Heart memories are like those treasure candles, that when subjected to heat, melt away to reveal a trinket that was encased before in wax, in hardness, in a tough exterior.  And once the heat is removed, the treasure holder returns to its former inflexibility, hiding all that it contains in an opaque exterior.

I wanted to be alone for this, truly, and I am.  I originally tried to invite happiness here to sidle up alongside of the sadness, but it was wrong to try to do so.  Letting go is best done alone.  No one to see inside, to see how the sealing up of pain is done, no one to have that key in their hand to use on you unexpectedly and shatter your illusion of self-control.  Yes, there are times that alone is actually best.

We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skins, for life.

Tennessee Williams

And so now I am poised in that position of anticipation, the feeling you get after the long, creaky ride to the top of the highest hill on the roller coaster.  I am suspended in that one moment before you lift off of your seat and go screaming down the other side, hands high, fear and exhilaration melded into one emotional faction.  What comes next?  I do not know, but I will embrace it with everything that I have, and make the best of it,  day by day.  And I will stop, and look at flowers, marvel at sunsets and sunrises, and live illogically.  It is who I am.

Carpe diem?  Nay, seize it not only, but embrace it, squeeze it, extract every drop of the juice of life out of it that you can – for tomorrow may never come.

Be well, slow down, smell a flower, reach out to someone you care for, everyone needs reminding that you value them.


  1 comment for “Passing the torch and ruminations on beauty

  1. June 1, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    This. Here it is. 🙂


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