I wake to hear my cat Tiger breathing in my ear. He’s resting on the pillow next to mine. When I turn my head, I peer into huge owl eyes.
His eyes invite me into my own. I notice the layers, the delicate touch of lid on ball, and as I feel the layers in my eyelid, I feel rivers, banks, mountains, rocks, and sky. As Walt Whitman said, “I contain multitudes.”
Yesterday I flung a bright yellow tablecloth over our round kitchen table. I placed a softer yellow candle in the middle and lit it. I wanted to rise on a new flame, to let the grief of my brother’s passing 75 days before, and the grief of little Velvet leaving on Tuesday, rise into the sky.
Then, the sunset last night was bright red – fire, and now this morning I see soft, white clouds – layers layering the sky.
I’m reminded of the poem “The Layers” by Stanley Kunitz.
The poem ends with this:
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.
“I am not done with my changes.” Life beckons. I’m alive.
My friend Elaine is participating in a study at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, IONS. One question is: “Could you love a flower as much as you love a person?”
My first thought is of the transience of a flower. A flower’s life is short compared to mine and yet the petals fall and there is fruit. As we mature, do we feel our own petals fall? Do we feel ourselves letting go? I believe my father, mother, brother, and yes, little Velvet did too. Did they see the fruit they’d leave behind? Yes, and we who are left nourish on it now.
My heart blooms with love when I look at a flower, a mirror veining connection between mountains and rivers, life and death.