A blog as September ends. A perfect morning. The kind we suffered all summer for, knowing the cooling breezes of fall will again mix with achingly blue skies, birds will sing, and Arizona will feel like paradise. I sit behind my favorite caboose, savoring a waffle and chai tea. The magic of Clarkdale pervades.
My mind falls on the many friends who have slipped away in the past few years, friends who gave me so much. There was Rim Rock Granny, Patty. She befriended me when I felt unworthy of friends, shared her magical eye for photography. We paired up on a couple of magical calendars, tried to make framed photos with her image, my words. There was Naomi. She had to move from here, but we continued to connect over our love of the Torah, and the magic of Spirit. Truly a holy woman. Judie left earlier this year. She was my rock for times when my health challenges felt too difficult for only one person. She was my voice of moderation and love when I started to slip off on my rational base. So deeply connected to God, she wrote daily letters to Him, and got answers. There was Helen. Helen who knew green so deeply her garden glowed, and her imagination created fairy houses and stick trolls out of scraps she found lying around. Camp Helen my dogs loved! Most recently, Isabelle passed on. Another magical photographer, she brought beauty to my webpage, and friendship into my life.
Death is a part of life, and as I grow older I know I will encounter it even more frequently. What to do? Clearly, for me, mourning, in traditional forms, has no place. Tears are hard for me to come by, and do not do that much. But I revel in memories. So often, when I see a sunset I remember the sunsets Patty and I shared. And I am reminded I am still here. I feel responsible for registering that beauty for not only me, but for Patty as well. When I begin to fly off the handle, I call in the quiet rationality of Judie. I ask her to speak for me, to guide my thoughts until I can retake control. And then, when I am ready, I take over the controls.
I have new pieces I would have asked Isabelle to photograph. I look at them, plan how they will pose, and affirm they will grace my website soon. That is what Isabelle dictates!
I believe I pick up parts of others’ souls. I take this as a holy responsibility. I have been granted a wonderful life, more time to live, to enjoy than many. I feel so privileged.
I also believe I can play a part as a role model. I have so many friends who, as they age, face many infirmities. Fibromyalgia. Migraine headaches. Digestive problems. Depression. I have fallen into all these pits, many others as well. And I have been so fortunate to have found a way out. I want to show others the hope I have found. the resolve to put one foot in front of the other…
I was working on this at Violette’s as Tom walked up. I have known Tom since the days when I crafted the Cottonwood Library Parking Lot book, five years ago. A crusty Italian businessman from New York, he shared his experiences in building a New York kind of business, surviving the New York streets, in that writing group.
Since that time he faced macular degeneration. He has now gone essentially blind. I watched as his illness progressed. I heard him as he expressed concerns about what it would mean to be blind, what he would lose. He gained tremendous help from the Veterans’ Administration.
Now Tom is a positive man who makes his way around Cottonwood and Clarkdale on public transportation. He goes everywhere. And he brings his positive attitude with him, his total zest for life. We talked about this zest, about the way we both get up from bed, one day after the next, and find ways to enjoy every one of them. We agreed there are moments of doldrums, but there are so many more times for excitement.
Tom has promised to “headline” a forum at my studio after mid to late January where we can share these uplifting attitudes with others. Stay tuned. And, in the meantime, I love the fall in Cottonwood!
"With all the beauty surrounding me here above the Verde Valley, how could I not create more beauty?"