"When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses."
~Seamus Heaney, excerpt from Clearances
With the linoleum floor as the backdrop to my shoes and the percussion of small talk, utensils, pots and pans as the soundscape, I remember helping my mom in the kitchen with the family meals.
Yesterday was the my first Thanksgiving since my mother passed. At my mother’s memorial, I heard many versions of that old platitude, “Time heals all wounds.” Experience has taught me that time doesn’t offer a linear healing process so much as a slowly shifting perspective.
She died from suffering. In many ways, my mom and I share similar temperaments. After her death, I worried I was also destined for an unhappy outcome. This is one of the many tricks that grief plays: it makes you think you don’t deserve happiness. Grief makes us better equipped to weather the other life losses that are sure to come and I've weathered a few.
Death is the only universal, and grieving makes beginners out of all of us.
Where to begin . . .
“'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore, And coming events cast their shadows before."
I have spent a great deal of my childhood in cemeteries. There seemed to be a lot of death among the distant elders that I never really got to know. Memories of the drone of religious services, long car rides to the graveyard, uncomfortable shoes and excruciating boredom. There never seemed to be a shortage of dying going on.
Solace came in short gifts of time alone to explore the solitude of the cemetery, with written word and monument to the strange unknown. I am still drawn to them. I suppose we all are.
“Money to me had always been merely something the sheep used to show each other how wonderful they were.”
“It looks a lot better from up here than it does down there, dont it?
Yes. It does.
There's a lot of things look better at a distance.
I think so. I guess there are. The life you've lived, for one.
Yeah. Maybe what of it you aint lived yet, too."
(Outtake from the Outside the Box Project with model Marie Michaelle).
Photographing Deco Moon Goddess at The Graduate in Providence, RI was a special treat. TEN31's award-winning performances, creations and experiences are a must have for your next event!
Check them out!
All I know is what the words know, and dead things, and that makes a handsome little sum, with a beginning and a middle and an end, as in the well-built phrase and the long sonata of the dead.”
I have carried this bodhrán all over Western Ireland for different cameo appearances in my photography but I believe this is the first of the series. Laced with cobwebs, sitting silently in the conservatory of the late David A. Lang's beloved Tully, the drum discovered me one early morning and I carried it out into the Forestry behind the farmhouse. Gradually the light deepened among the whitethorn and hazelnut and the shadows became one. It is impossible to imagine these trees whispering anything but soft syllables as they and the drum’s master have since passed...but the music remains.
“Don’t be so earnest, / so ready for the sackcloth and the ashes . . . You’ve listened long enough. Now strike your note.”