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October 2009

Posts from September 2009

Beautified by her presence


Mima on her porch covered with grapevines and overlooking the Adriatic Sea / She wrote: I recall all of you so many times and wish to see you all again along with the rest of the family. It is my duty to thank you all for those lovely memories with the pictures which remind me of you, so I can see you all and say to God, “Please let me see you all again.” / Sv. Vid, Croatia / May 2005

Over 100 years ago my great-grandmother Jelisava left her village in Croatia to join her husband in America. She never returned, but 95 years later her descendants traveled to her village and discovered her niece Katica (called “Mima,” for grandmother). Mima spoke no English but through the patient translations of her grandson Tonci we were able to learn more about Jelisava, her husband Anton, and their family and form a delightful bond with her. She knew the stories of things that had happened before she was born. She knew the Croatian songs that my mother had heard as a child. She made us Turkish coffee and gave us pure, cold water from the well in the back with the date '1863' carved into it. We had never known of her existence, but she had a photo in her house from the early 1950s of my mother and her siblings.

[A dear one, B, has called the story of how our families were reunited “a mythic tale if there ever was one”. Another dear one, K, describes “that day in Sveti Vid, when the sky literally opened up and God must have been blowing us all up the dirt road in Tonci's car, to the vine-covered patio, where a multi-generational bloodline met and the air became pregnant with memories and meaning. To me, that moment was both a treasured flashback of our ancestry and a testament to the imperishable love of family, even when the relationships are only through passed down stories and photographs.”]

We were beautified by her delight in finding us, by her love for us and her family, by her continued prayers for us. She died on Sept. 26th with her beloved grandson by her bedside. We shall miss her lovely presence.

“He 'adorned and beautified it by his presence,' the prayer book says — did it just by being there, presumably, just by being who he was, the way anybody we love very much and who loves us very much can more or less do it too.”

~ Frederic Buechner writiing about Jesus at the Marriage of Cana

Sitting vigil

SittingvigilAnita / Nov. 2008

We stroke your hair, hold your hand
Whisper in your ear in this room
Straight out of star trek, state of the art
Everything buzzes and whirs and blinks and beeps
Tubes and bags and flesh and technology inside
It's a room with a view outside
The soaring blue of the Ben Franklin bridge
An elegant church steeple, Camden's tall city hall
I think this would please you
We stroke your hair, hold your hand
Talk and tell stories and I think that I see you
Sit up, listening to us with a gentle smile
John the nurse brings a tray with
Coffee, tea, fancy Pepperidge Farm Cookies
Chocolate and butter comfort in fluted paper cups
This would please you, too
The chaplain says can I say a prayer for her? Of course
Yes, yes we're her sisters, thank you
A woman sweeps the floor, she sprays and mops
A lovely scent, apple she says, yes that's it
This would please you for sure
The first good day after the surgery
You couldn't wait to be down on your hands and
knees scrubbing your kitchen floor
We stroke your hair, hold your hand
Is she cold? She doesn't like to be cold
A respiration nurse cleans a tube
Just two days ago they brought you here
Huddled, weak and barely breathing
And yet you asked after us -- how you doing?
Now, pumped full of drugs, drugged with drugs
All we can do is stroke your hair, hold your hand
Whisper that we're here, we're here dear friend
Say I love you Say I love you Say goodbye

Releasing the caged mind


September is made for picnicking outside under the leaves and fading light and stars / September 2009

"When we go out among nature, clay is returning to clay. We are returning to participate in the stillness of the earth which first dreamed us. ... Indeed, the beauty of nature is often the wisest balm for it gently relieves and releases the caged mind. Calmness flows in to wash away anxiety and worry. ... Over against the world with all its turbulence, distraction and worry, one should cultivate a style of mind that can reach through to an inner stillness and calm. The world cannot ruffle the dignity of a soul that dwells in its own tranquility."

~ John O'Donohue in Beauty The Invisible Embrace



The house that whirled with song and dance and laughter and tears and rising and falling and this and that falls still / Mountain House

Some thoughts from wiremesa:

Today is the day of the resonance you wish would not slip away … not now … later, but not now

Today is the day of the generation rising and falling, its sweetest secrets untold

Today is the day of the dervish whirled room suddenly falling still

Patience is power


Spider web with its occupant; the web was built ingeniously, I don't run into it when I come out of the house since the right side is attached to the porch roof / New Jersey / August 2009

Patience is power;
with time and patience,
the mulberry leaf becomes silk.

~ Chinese proverb