What’s my legacy?

*This is a re-post from 3/08*

daffodils.jpg

I was driving down the road today and passed a clump of bright daffodils. It wasn’t really that they were extraordinarily bright;

its just that they were in stark contrast to the overgrown weeds and trees that still wore their winter browns.

And the sight made me feel…well, melancholy.

melancholy

adjective

1.

characterized by or causing or expressing sadness; “growing more melancholy every hour”

2.

grave or even gloomy in character; “solemn and mournful music”; “a suit of somber black”; “a somber mood” [syn: somber]

noun


1. a feeling of thoughtful sadness

I know, I know… flowers usually brighten up my day, but these were all that remained of what was once someone’s homestead – their home. The house was long since gone, the trees and underbrush stretching themselves into the void.

But the flowers kept growing where somebody once intentionally planted them, multiplying each year. They were unaware that the hands that dug them a bed and placed them there by the road no longer lived in the world around them.

I doubt they would have cared, if they had the capacity to. They were just doing what flowers were intended to do.

I really do have a reason for all this introspection. I’ve been going through boxes. Boxes of memories. Of pictures of a young girl, dressed in her best Easter dress with a basket of eggs, squinting into the sun … of notes scrawled in childish writing professing things important to them in that space in time…of ribbons won on long, hot afternoon swim meets decades ago … of dolls given by family no longer living, that sat on bedroom shelves, reminding me of the smell of my grandmother’s house at Christmas … of love letters written 20 some odd years ago by the man I still wake up and go to sleep with each day. I think you get the picture. Sitting there amongst WAY too many boxes, I think of the person who planted those flowers, however long ago it was, and wonder,

“What will be MY legacy?”

It surely doesn’t lie in a box. Comforting and nostalgic as all these things may be to me, in 50 years will they still matter? More pertinently, if I died today, the task of going through all of these would fall to someone else. Would they find value in things tied to the past? Probably not in the same way I do, probably not at all. All of my things will pass away with time, just like my grandparents and great-grandparents before me. I can’t imagine what I would do with memorabilia from my parent’s high school years…why would I expect anything different for my children? If these things are SO important that I’ve kept them all this time, then why are they in a box that hasn’t been opened in years?

At least the flowers lived.
daffodils2.jpg

So I try to look at it from a different point of view. As I judicially choose what I just can’t part with (today) – and I’m not exaggerating about being judicious – I try and think of what my family would find in these boxes. If I can’t find permanence or a piece of personal history, I chuck it. I certainly can’t take it with me! I look for opportunities to plant the the same type of memories that these THINGS represent to me instead. Moments of laughter, tears, music, and love that will live on in the souls of those that I love when time has warped the papers, faded the pictures, and age has rendered fragile the things that were witness to them.

I think I will plant myself some flowers by the road ~ daylilies, peonies, freesias, and irises – all in a clump together.

And of course, some daffodils.

~me

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A Poem from the Vault – Daffodils

This is one of the oldest poems I kept through the years.

I wrote it in 1986 at the way-too-young-to-be-a-parent age of 18, shortly after my eldest was born.

It’s funny…I read it and I remember being that girl. I remember feeling that passionately and fiercely protective.  I read it with my 22 years-older eyes and while I cringe at some of the naive expressions, I find little that I would change in the sentiment.

Daffodils

Lost among the willow weeds

The sturdy young daffodil

Raises its petals to a nurturing sun

Over endless time

Growing

Pushing

Reaching

Striving to rise above

The destructive, ominous willow weeds

Struggling with natural forces to bask

In the full radiance

Of the life-giving sun and rain

Until,

Through perseverance and determination

Wisdom won through confusion and doubts

The daffodil, in all of its floral glory

Matures

Surmounting even the highest,

Most difficult weeds

To become a bright splash of gold

In a sea of gray

May life be a journey

Of spiritual battles won

Of wisdom gained from mistakes

Until your golden light shines

Across the foreboding grays

Of prejudice

Of war

Of violence

Of destruction

So that ultimately

One day your light will be reflected back to you

By other golden daffodils

Shining throughout an often grey world…

Peace,

~me

Serendipitous Saturday

Today I woke up to an alarm, despite that it’s a Saturday and generally I don’t use an alarm on weekends. My youngest had to go meet her group for one of their volunteer work days, cleaning up a camp at a local lake.

Half asleep, I dropped her off and noticed that the sky was exceptionally blue, the air almost chilly blowing in through my window. Hmmm …

As my brain started to wake up, I thought, “Man! That blue would be an awesome backdrop for pictures today. I wonder if I can find some time…maybe if I get everything done first…”

Now, around here, all the churches have signs out front that have some weekly inspirational message on them. As I passed one that I pass almost every day, my mind on how I could work in some camera time, I noted the sign. It read something like this:

“If you wait for everything to work out perfectly, it will never happen”.

Seriously. It said that. S’all I needed to hear! 😉 I went home, grabbed a cup of coffee to go, a snack and a water bottle, and my camera backpack.

Grabbing my keys, I took advantage of my hubby’s unconscious state and whispered, “Um, hey…listen…do we have anything we’re supposed to be doing this morning?” After he confusedly and groggily mumbled “no”, I said “GREAT! See you in a bit – I’m going to shoot some pictures, ‘cuz the sky is THAT color blue.”

“Wait” he asked, “are you staying here or leaving?”.

“Well, I think I’ve shot just about everything here, so yeah. I’m going to leave…but I’ll be back in a bit! Go back to sleep.”

I didn’t leave our suburb because: a) even with a fuel-efficient car, gas is too much and b) TECHNICALLY? I was still in my PJ’s, though I didn’t think they SEEMED too much like PJ’s 🙂

I drove around looking for inspiration, after making sure the gas tank would let me! Windows down, iPod set to random I just meandered, enjoying the wind and the music.

I like to think the wind, the sun, and the music were my muses, opening my eyes up to things I see all the time, but in a different light. I had a wonderful time, losing myself in the beauty of the day.

What did I find? Let’s see…

  • New music I’ve had on my iPod for who knows how long but never heard
  • That when I open the back two windows just a little bit and the mine down all the way the wind blows my hair OFF my face
  • A lake with a singular goose who hammed it up for me
  • The same lake with a small brood of water moccasin snakes sunning themselves (I kept plenty far away, using my long lens…I’m not THAT naive!)
  • A pasture of yellow clover, running along a creek that I was a bit leery of after the encounter with the water moccasins
  • and a HUGE, overflowing ocean of wildflowers right off the highway, butterflies skipping across the surface!

So now I’m sorting through the 200 odd pictures I shot today, trying to objectively and judiciously decide which ones are keepers and which ones to send to the recycle bin. As soon as I figure it out, I’m uploading them to my Flickr account for posting. Maybe some of them here too.

Anyway, that was MY Saturday morning! And if I had planned it, it couldn’t have possibly been better than the unexpected and serendipitous morning and day I ended up having. Hope yours was full of unexpected joys and muses too!

Peace,

~me

What’s my legacy?

daffodils.jpg

I was driving down the road today and passed a clump of bright daffodils. It wasn’t really that they were extraordinarily bright;

its just that they were in stark contrast to the overgrown weeds and trees that still wore their winter browns.

And the sight made me feel…well, melancholy.

melancholy

adjective

1.

characterized by or causing or expressing sadness; “growing more melancholy every hour”

2.

grave or even gloomy in character; “solemn and mournful music”; “a suit of somber black”; “a somber mood” [syn: somber]

noun

 


1. a feeling of thoughtful sadness

I know, I know… flowers usually brighten up my day, but these were all that remained of what was once someone’s homestead – their home. The house was long since gone, the trees and underbrush stretching themselves into the void.

But the flowers kept growing where somebody once intentionally planted them, multiplying each year. They were unaware that the hands that dug them a bed and placed them there by the road no longer lived in the world around them.

I doubt they would have cared, if they had the capacity to. They were just doing what flowers were intended to do.

I really do have a reason for all this introspection. I’ve been going through boxes. Boxes of memories. Of pictures of a young girl, dressed in her best Easter dress with a basket of eggs, squinting into the sun … of notes scrawled in childish writing professing things important to them in that space in time…of ribbons won on long, hot afternoon swim meets decades ago … of dolls given by family no longer living, that sat on bedroom shelves, reminding me of the smell of my grandmother’s house at Christmas … of love letters written 20 some odd years ago by the man I still wake up and go to sleep with each day. I think you get the picture. Sitting there amongst WAY too many boxes, I think of the person who planted those flowers, however long ago it was, and wonder,

“What will be MY legacy?”

It surely doesn’t lie in a box. Comforting and nostalgic as all these things may be to me, in 50 years will they still matter? More pertinently, if I died today, the task of going through all of these would fall to someone else. Would they find value in things tied to the past? Probably not in the same way I do, probably not at all. All of my things will pass away with time, just like my grandparents and great-grandparents before me. I can’t imagine what I would do with memorabilia from my parent’s high school years…why would I expect anything different for my children? If these things are SO important that I’ve kept them all this time, then why are they in a box that hasn’t been opened in years?

At least the flowers lived.
daffodils2.jpg

So I try to look at it from a different point of view. As I judicially choose what I just can’t part with (today) – and I’m not exaggerating about being judicious – I try and think of what my family would find in these boxes. If I can’t find permanence or a piece of personal history, I chuck it. I certainly can’t take it with me! I look for opportunities to plant the the same type of memories that these THINGS represent to me instead. Moments of laughter, tears, music, and love that will live on in the souls of those that I love when time has warped the papers, faded the pictures, and age has rendered fragile the things that were witness to them.

I think I will plant myself some flowers by the road ~ daylilies, peonies, freesias, and irises – all in a clump together.

And of course, some daffodils.

~me