GROWING OLDER IS A GIFT FROM HEAVEN: LEGACY
I never had the opportunity to meet Maya Angelou. I never spoke to her nor heard her speak. Now that possibility has passed. Yet her words will live on. That is the power of legacy. I am even more compelled to read her thoughts, in consideration of her leaving our planet. In one of the many tributes I read this week the author pointed out the obvious. "It is no wonder that her very name contained the word angel." Legacy.
It is such a gift to live a long life. To have the time to consider and ponder. To muse. To reflect. To experience. To grow. To appreciate. To share. What difference does my life make? How do my contributions add to the sum? Where can I apply my efforts? How can I make a difference in the grand scheme of things?
There are times when I am overcome and my breath is snatched right out of my chest. Driving up Wisconsin Highway 42 on the way to rendez-vous for dinner at Summertime Restaurant a mere couple of days ago, was just that sort of experience. I shrieked. Literally. Tulips on FIRE! The sunlight was PERFECT! The setting sublime. My dear hubby is accustomed to my need to stop our moving vehicle on a dime, in an attempt to capture something that has wrangled my heart. What you see is my effort to share this amazing experience.
A person I don't know, has planted this explosion of color for my indulgence and appreciation. Is this gardener still tending to this masterpiece? This profusion of color has been erupting on cue for some span of time. Beauty of this magnitude does not just happen overnight. Some brilliant one had the idea. To share. To sow bulbs and hope. To sprinkle in the remnants of a bygone era that will rust further while the flowers shine more brilliantly from year to year. Color. Color. Rust. Color. Color. Color. Rust. A tapestry. Industry of the field on two planes: commerce and art.
How fortunate to pass this glorious riot of color at the very zenith of the fireworks. Pinching myself as cars go whizzing past at the speed of sound, I am frozen in appreciation for this gardener. For this beauty. For this gift to the future. Will I ever again be at this juncture at just such a magical moment? I will relive this ephemeral moment through this journal entry. I share my rambles with you so I can revisit them myself.
I can capture this experience to the best of my ability with Canon and batteries and memory card at hand. It's like eating some confection, both intoxicating and inordinately satisfying at the same time. Click. Click. Click. Look this way. No that. How I long to know a little bit more about photography. I am still just beyond a point and click mentality, but no matter in an Eden of this ilk. I know with each 'snap' that these images have majesty encoded. No matter my aperture ignorance, the gardener has done the work. I just need to show up and be willing.
It amazes me still that somehow I have figured out how to take photographs and transfer them out to the wider world through this web of cyberness that connects us in a click. I am a sufficient realist to recognize that an article such as today's is primarily for my own entertainment and for my mother who reads whatever I type, so matter the subject. Mom. I took these pictures for you. I could hear your applause with each capture.
Back to the concept of legacy. The power of time. The garden that matures as the gardener grows wiser and more experienced. Did Maya know her brilliance from the beginning? Did she realize her impact? At what point? How truly fortunate that she lived a sufficiently lengthy life to have her insights recognized and applauded. I stood there applauding these tulips. I did. I gave a standing ovation. Honest. I did. I hoped that someone would peek out of the curtains to see my adoration.
I stood there applauding these tulips. I did. I gave a standing ovation. Honest. I did. I hoped that someone would peek out from behind the curtains to see my adoration. To know that the investment and effort had been received and was in fact appreciated. The world is literally a brighter place as a result of this work.
And so it is with what we love. We continue at it over the days that we are given. It grows. Our work. Our contribution. We toil through the mosquitoes. We tend and prune. We risk sunburn and weariness. Yet we are urged on knowing what possibilities our efforts may garner. Love and care. Doing that which we are able.
Which skills are you developing? How does your garden grow? Which gifts have you nurtured? Can you make a loaf of bread from scratch? Our neighbor Donna does so without a recipe. I marvel over every morsel. Our little piece of ground was literally over run with scrub and weeds when we landed here seven or eight summers ago. A cacophony of industrious weeds.
Our little piece of ground was literally over run with scrub and weeds when we landed up here seven or eight summers ago. Allen spent one full week pulling those weeds out by hand. Bit by bit. Wringing wet. No small task, but we had a vision of being able to improve our surroundings. First it required the hard work of preparation.
Every year we add another five or six (or eight or ten) Hostas. The last couple years I have been transferring the 'volunteer' fern along the back edge. It is no garden tour stop, but how kind that our new neighbor came over to mention how great it is to come home to this view. Effort. Invested over time. Give us another decade and some compost. Appreciation on a daily basis. Out the kitchen window.
And now? Now we have a hummingbird in residence! We have our first hummingbird feeder. What a thrill to hear that *LOUD* hover-buzzer-whooshing as it enters the yard. Sitting in silence reading, it sounds like a sort of natural explosion. We have lived long enough to have a hummingbird feeder. To have lived to the point of appreciating what is in our midst and supporting it with our adoration, tending and care. That is to have lived well.
I'm reading the set of books by Austin Kleon, "Steal Like an Artist" and "Show your Work." Austin suggests that we write what we want to read. He goes on to assure that you don't need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. Something akin to 'if you build it they will come.' I can see by my metrics and analytics that a post of this ilk will garner very few readers. Alas. I toil on midst the mosquitoes in the hopes that those who need a slap of color will somehow stumble in here to drink virtually and be fed as I have been. Today, is for my own good. To appreciate. Even if in a vacuum. Today is for my mom. Today is in appreciation of Maya. Today is for the gardener, working over numerous seasons to bring joy to those traveling on Highway 42. I thank you one and all.
*I had just included two 'images' with Maya quotes in my recent Slideshare on creativity.
Here are those two images in my Maya tribute.
Treat yourself to listening in on Austin Kleon during his TedTalk!
Be more of yourself.
Give that gift to the wider world.
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