Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Turn Turn Turn

On this brilliant and breezy late winter day, the promise of renewal and new beginnings is all around: tender green shoots bursting skyward from the ground, seasonal bird songs that signal the coming spring, the delicate white snowdrop flowers I spied in the woods the other day, and much much more.

As goes the cycle of the seasons, and life in general, we all know that endings must come also.

Today's post is in remembrance of three lovely women recently deceased.  One death followed a long life, and two were lives cut short by illness.

My Aunt Lindabel was the maiden auntie, unencumbered by a husband and children, but great fun for us nieces and nephews.  In her prime, Lindy was petite, stylish, a bit racy (she smoked! she wore pants instead of skirts! she wore bright red lipstick!), funny, and adventurous.  She swam across Lake Washington here in Seattle well before there were organized events for that sort of thing. I'll always remember riding the backroads of Snohomish County in Lindy's vintage red Volkswagen Beetle convertible with the top down on summer days, laughing and singing.

Lindy was a great gardener and a member of the Begonia Club. She called them the "Begoniacs."

Jean was a kind, very smart, and nurturing soul with a sly sense of humor, a former colleague whom I met while working on a project at Yosemite National Park.  We struck up a cross-state friendship (she in San Francisco, me in Seattle), referred work to each other and collaborated on more projects, and shared a love of cats and dangley earrings. I teased her about being a "low talker," but whatever she had to say was well worth hearing. Jean also loved roses, gardening, dancing, Michael Jackson's music, her friends and family, and especially her husband Matt.

The temple bell stops ringing, but the song keeps coming out of the flowers.  -Basho 

Jean was passionate about roses and edited a scholarly rose journal.

The youngest of these three women was Mary, a gifted healer and physical therapist who stretched and moved beyond the conventional confines of her profession and broke new ground by combining Eastern and Western practices.  She was a  raven-haired beauty, a determined, brilliant, caring, adventurous, fun, and multi-talented woman who I and many others trusted implicitly with our injured and broken bodies. Mary leaves behind a legion of grieving friends, clients, fellow artists, fellow pracitioners, a big  family, her husband Steve, and her black lab Jacque II.

For Mary

a bird cries out
wind sweeps through a tree
I hold still and listen
for I realize
every blade of grass
in the field
every leaf in the forest
lays down its life
in its season
as earnestly as it began.

-Sarah Hart

Mary loved the Methow Valley and spent much time there.

Mt. Rainier was among the peaks that Mary climbed.
 And here is a link to a solo performance of Turn! Turn! Turn! by Roger McGuinn.

And now I'm headed outside to breathe in this beautiful sunny day.


Anne said...

I understand the life cycle has to happen, but you always hate it until the pain begins to dull and you understand it had to happen.

Re: Lindabel, does this mean that you are going to smoke and wear red lipstick to create a mystique for your plethora of nieces and nephews? Maybe you should light one up someday in front of them just to get the reaction...and start wearing skirts all of the time!

Suezy P said...

What a moving tribute to your friends Jill. It is clear to see that they, the three of them, each made an impact on your life and in the lives of countless others. Keep on doing what you do. Their legacy lives in you and the gift you give us all in your words and photographs are intertwined.
Much love and prayer for the weight to be lifted from your heavy heart. Suezy

Mab said...

Your words have captured these special people for the rest of us to appreciate. The poems and the photos are equal to your words.I think I will also go outside now and breath deep and think about what you wrote.

Anonymous said...

Your post today was one of your most eloquent and beautiful. I am so sorry for your losses. That is so much to deal with.

Jill said...

Anne, you assume I'm always going to be the "maiden" auntie? Haven't given up yet:)

Jill said...

Thanks for your kind words Suezy.

Jill said...

Mab, beautifully put.

Jill said...

Thanks Gayle.

Lindsey said...

Love the photos as usual, but loved the words even more. As a young niece who only has memories of Lindabell when she was more conservative it is fun to read about how she was wild and free. I can remember glimmers of that spunk for sure over the last few years!!

Anonymous said...

All I will say about maidens is that I don't think they really exist anymore. So no, you will just have to settle for being their "second mom" auntie. This is one of my favorite posts of yours too.