Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yellow Roses

Today, November 21, would have been my mother's 85th birthday, had she not passed on last January.

It is also René Magritte's 110th birthday, and the separate birthdays of two of my closest friends.

Mom loved yellow roses, so I went and bought a few to bring home and have with me all day, to remind me of her. I have kept them by my writing desk most of the day, in my peripheral vision.

In the morning's bright cold sunlight, I set them on the kitchen counter, where the play of light and shadow, and the refraction of light through the rose petals and the glass of the vase made beautiful patterns on the counter's white surface.

Ritual is important. We use rituals to mark milestones and changes in our lives, to celebrate initiations and rites of passage, to solemnly and joyfully remind ourselves that we have changed, that everything has changed, and that we can move forward, never go back. We use rituals that are received from our ancestors. But I often think that the best, most effective rituals are the ones we make on the spur of the moment, that we create, or invent.

I hereby commit myself to an invented ritual of a year and a day, in which I will have flowers around on the birthdays and deathdays of both of my parents. After that prescribed time, I will do as I am moved to do. Perhaps I will repeat the flowers on their important days indefinitely; perhaps a period of prescribed ritual do its job, and settle what needs to be settled, so that it can be let go, and we all move on.

Today, at least, these cheerful flowers brightened my day, and my mood, and gave me reason to celebrate, to remember all that was good and loving and fun and brilliant about my mother.

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Blogger Rachel Fox said...

Ah...mothers and Mum loves roses whilst I love daisies and bluebells and anything wild. And every time we disagree about something this fundamental difference between us is in there somewhere! I wrote a poem about it (of course!) but I haven't put it anywhere...yet.
Beautiful ever. Almost win me over to the roses...

11:18 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Rachel, we'll get to enjoy roses sooner or later. Is it because they're a bit of a cliché? I could understand that. Because my father grew them, though, I've learned a bit about all the varieties and types, and it's pretty incredible stuff, really.

I admit that because roses ARE a bit of a cliché, whenever I photograph them I try to do it in a different and unique way. The sunlight effects here were very appealing, which is why I included that one shot of the refractions from the vase onto the kitchen counter.

Thanks for the thoughts, as always.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Rachel Fox said...

No, you're right...I feel myself liking them more as time goes by!

1:12 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Good. The mind control is working. :)

5:48 PM  

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