The Fate of Flowers.....
John Lancaster Spalding
It had been too long since I had visited my mother in the nursing home; each weekend I would make excuses to myself as to why I couldn't go... I was on vacation. I was recovering from vacation. School started. I was tired. It was too cloudy-windy-rainy-sunny outside.
The reality is, it is difficult to see her trapped within her bed, listen to the litany of aches and pains that she mumbles as soon as I walk in, barely audible with her slurred post-stroke speech. I dread and cringe at the endless screeching of the old folks who have lost their minds and moan/cry/wail up and down the hallways of the home in their wheel chairs. I close the door as they try to barge into my mother's room when I am visiting, like zombies. I ache because they too were once vital.
What precipitated the visit today was the call from the surgeon awaiting me after school on Friday, wanting to take a suspicious lesion off my mother's back. It is an out patient procedure, but knowing my mother, and her wishes regarding surgery and hospitals, I had to convince her that it was a necessary procedure to have done.
Thus I HAD to visit her today.
The visit went well - she agreed to the excision, understanding that non-treatment it is a sure and painful death. The remainder of the conversation was a monologue about the family, and what's happening in my life. She lets me know that the Katherine Hepburn book I gave her last visit is still cherished by the way she hugs it close to her body. She has a stuffed animal tucked close to her side. She eats half of the apple turnover from Diesings, and makes a sign to agree that a mutual relative is crazy.
After an hour or so I am ready to leave. I promise to be back in a few weeks. She is already busy reading the Sunday paper I have bought her.
As I leave the beautiful grounds of the Nursing home that stretch along the Hudson River, I find it sad to see the walking paths empty, and filling in with leaves. The people who live there are too broken to walk their paths, and I sigh.
I was not ready to head home; I needed to process my visit. On the way home I stopped at Poet's Walk for a hike down to the river, stopping only to photograph the landscape. I take in the day, the buzzing of the bumblebees, the few grasshoppers that are still scrambling about in the tall grass. I listen to the sound of the crows in the trees, and of a bi-plane circling about. It is with a bittersweet gratefulness that I enjoy this afternoon...
Tonight's art features two small encaustic paintings I did this weekend. I am enjoying working with the challenge of painting with such an unpredictable medium, and am finding ways to tame it. It forces me to work quickly due to its quick solidification and I am less apt to muddy my colors and over think my work.....