Tag: mourning

If a Tree Falls in the Middle of a Waterfall, Does It Make a Sound?

a tree in bloom over a waterfall

View from my Studio Window, Before

She buds.
She blooms.
Over the course of ten days, she comes into her full glory. Every day I sit looking out my studio window, mesmerized at the splendor of her branches gracefully sheltering the spot my log once called home.

Today, as I eat a pack of crackers and call it lunch, I listen to Clarissa Pinkola Estes tell the story of her trumpet vine and how its raucous blooming annoyed the neighbor man. One spring he harrumphed over and asked her to cut it down. “I can’t do that,” she told him. “It’s an old vine. And beautiful.” One day she arrives home to find that the neighbor man has cut the vine down to the ground. And on her side of the fence, mind you. Once the initial wave of grief passed, she digs up the vine, plants the roots, and in a short while, the vine is growing again.

blooming tree lays across waterfall

blooming tree over waterfall

 

broken tree

 

I cover my mouth in horror of the neighbor destroying the trumpet vine, pick up another cracker,  and look back out at my tree of graceful blooms . . . to find it laying in the water. Tracing it back with my eyes, i see where the tree trunk snapped, the blooming limbs landing in the falls. Once again I cover my mouth in horror and disbelief.

Later, while I am on a business call, The Engineer and Mother  go out, cut off a few small branches, smash the ends, dip them in a root-activating powder, and plant them in soil. The trumpet vine grew back, so I’m hopeful these will begin to sprout, too. Maybe in a few years, I’ll sit mesmerized under the beautiful blooms framing the waterfall (I’m on my 17th day of yoga, so I might be able to get down and back up by then – it could happen.) I’ll spread out a quilt and picnic under the gloriously blooming tree, telling her the story of her grandmother who once thrilled my eyes and salved my broken, grieving heart with her beauty.

An Apology for the Past and a Plan for the Future

smiling woman wearing red heart-shaped glasses wearing a blue hat with a big pink flower stands in front of a waterfall

It’s me, Jeanne, waaring the hat (I haven’t been able to find a red one) I wear on Eye Treatment Days to protect my eyes from the pain of sunlight ’cause even 2 layers of those dilation glasses don’t do the trick. Plus it makes me smile, this hat with its pretend (artificial) dahlia.

Dear Members of The 70273 Project Community,

I have not been a good leader this year. I have not been a good steward of your involvement, enthusiasm, commitment. There are reasons – no excuses, just reasons . . .

A Diagnosis

In fall 2018, my vision began deteriorating.  By our third anniversary in February 2019, I could ignore it any longer. In March I went to the ophthalmologist in search of a new prescription. I did not get a new prescription, instead I got a referral to a retina specialist. In April I had a diagnosis: wet macular degeneration. I was asked to participate in a clinical trial, and after much research, I decided to give it a try. The monthly treatments started in April 2019.

Not liking to inconvenience or worry anybody, I kept my chin up and my feet in motion. By mid-May I was wising someone would offer me to a gold star if I’d  pick up the Empire State Building and move it from New York to Atlanta because that would have been ever so much easier than throwing my first leg off the side of the bed every morning. I had to face it: I was in the quagmire of depression. It wasn’t allergies, I was in mourning.

I decided to do what I encourage others to do: pull out the white flag. Knowing that fighting it is futile, I succumbed.

Transitioning

Things are better now. The depression still nibbles at me some days, and I still have the occasional vegging-out day when the most physical effort I exert is walking to the sofa then to the bathroom and back.

The eyesight is somewhat improved, and I struggle to say that aloud for fear it will jinx something, that the Eye Sight Goddess will deem me cocky and overly-confident and smite me.  In August, feeling emboldened  by seeing a few more letters on the visual acuity chart, I asked about getting a new prescription for my glasses. After much consideration, he gave a reluctant okay. September’s treatment showed not improvement but deterioration – enough to make Dr. Bridges tell me to cancel my ophthalmologist appointment and say he might suggest I pull out of the clinical trial. We’ll know more tomorrow when I go for my seventh treatment. If you’d put me on your Positive Thoughts / Healing Energy / Prayer lists, I would be oh so grateful.

Looking Forward

Because I feel adrift when I don’t journal and because I haven’t been doing that while in the blackness of grief and depression, I created a journal system that suits me just fine. I’ll write about it soon. I also bought I don’t know how many index cards and a storage case. I’ll write about that later, too. Because walking makes me feel like a different person and because I sort and solve things quicker when my feet are in motion, I’ve begun walking a minimum of 10,000 steps each day. 12,500 is my preferred minimum, but I’m careful to not set myself up to fail. And any day now, I will start yoga.

I have ideas for 2 more quilt themes, and several more creative projects under the umbrella of The 70273 Project that I think y’all will like a lot. I also want to do what I’ve longed to do for a while and really amp up the project’s podcast.

Now I am an accomplishment-oriented girl from way back, and I need the structure of a plan to help move me and The 70273 Project forward from here.  I don’t know how or where it will happen (only that it will happen soon and that things are complicated by the fact that I am not allowed to drive),  but what I really need is a retreat, time to be quiet and have space to think and plan.  That’s when I’ll assign a target date for each idea, draw up guidelines, create things that knock around in my heart. That plan will be the ladder needed to move me . . . to move us out of the quicksand and back to sunlit ground. Stay tuned for that.

Gratitude

Thank y’all for your patience and tenderness with me.  I don’t always reply to each individual comment on Facebook or here on the blog or over at Instagram, but that doesn’t mean I don’t read and appreciate them. Don’t ever think that. I read, reread, reread, and reread some more your good words. Read them before every treatment and many times in between. Your words of encouragement, support, and caring are my heart’s charm bracelet.

And thank you for not giving up on and walking away from The 70273 Project. We’re still here, and things are still percolating, and we still have a few things left to do before we turn the lights off.

Love,
Jeanne

An Improvisational Anniversary

Arrowleaf

I spy the leaf
as I walk to the truck
to begin our 12-hour ride.
Not the way I’d wanted to spend
the fourteenth anniversary of Daddy’s death,
but business meetings being what they are and all,
off we merrily go.

“Talk to me,” I pray silently to Daddy
as the sun stretches awake and water colors the sky.
“At least wave to me at 8 a.m. just to say ‘Hey’.”

At 8:00 a.m. on the dot,
(not knowing a thing about my secret ritual,
perhaps not even remembering the significance of today)
The Engineer pulls the truck into a Hardee’s,
the place where Daddy breakfasted with friends every morning.
“I’ll see y’all later,” the man in the John Deere hat says
as he exits the table.
“I’m gonna’ go do something bad enough to lift my spirits.”
I excel at eavesdropping.

As we ride down the country roads,
I remember . . .

Barn1

Barn2

the chicken houses and barns
my Daddy helped his daddy build . . .

Field3

how Granddaddy hired out his tractor
and his 12 year old son
to bale hay for neighbors . . .

Partiallyhidden2

Abandoned3

Abandoned2

the adorable little house
Daddy and his brother
built for their grandmother.
“We were just teenagers,” Daddy told me once.
“We didn’t know a single thing about building houses,
so we built Mimmie’s house right on top of the ground.
You never saw so many termites.”

Watersky

I look at the water

Clouds

the clouds

Moon

the early moon,
I watch the black bird in the morning
and the black bear in the evening
cross the road in front of us,
and I think this day is
the best conversation I’ve had with Daddy
in a long, long time.

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