There is nothing like a healthy dose of nature to remind you that regardless of what is happening in your own life, the rest of the world moves on. New life is created, old lives end and nature continues to provide miracles and wonders through various forces.
A friend of Beloved’s had recently moved to a tropical paradise after spending years working long hours and putting little else before work in order to make his dream come true. Hawaii seemed the ideal choice for him relocate and so when he had the means and the opportunity a few months back, he did just that. He fully committed to the move, selling the majority of his possessions, deciding to purchase new once he found a place to live.
His emails, calls and such to Beloved were happy. He told Beloved how it was a better life for him and tried to convince Beloved to at least consider the move as well. Except, well it was Hawaii. And Hawaii to Beloved meant loads of sun and hot temperatures, not things that Beloved finds relaxing.
The icing on the cake for Beloved is that Hawaii is still being created through the act of destruction and while Beloved can watch it in awe, he knew he’d never be as calm or understanding if that destruction affected him personally the way Beloved’s friend has now been impacted by the creative forces that come through the destruction brought on by lava.
And still, much to my own surprise, Beloved’s friend is still happy with the move. He sees no irony and claims that even if things get worse, he’s still committed to his paradise. Beloved told his friend that perhaps the friend really just needs to be committed, to a place for a mental health evaluation. But then Beloved has never found a place that feels like home to him the way his birth place makes him feel so he can’t understand it the same way.
Beloved has a things for stained glass windows. He cannot make them as he lacks the artistic talent for that. He cannot install them as his thumbs seem to rebel against labor of that sort. But he can find an incredible amount of beauty in them, especially the way the sun illuminates them. And he does pay homage to them when he can.
No matter where he travels to, he will seek out stained glass windows to capture on his phone and sit beneath, to let the colored light play against his skin while he contemplates his life. To him, there is something special about being able to sit bathed in the unnaturally colored light and reflect upon his actions, thoughts, desires and dreams. He can spend hours in silent contemplation, lost in a world I have no way of entering. Mostly because I tend not to darken the door during these moments.
There is something sweet and precious about his ability to find meaning, purpose and something so much larger than we are yet connecting us all to the same one thing. And I find myself sitting in awe of this, of a simple act that is not so simple nor as easy as he makes it seem. And while he is refreshed from his moments or hours of contemplation I find myself breathless from trying to chase my thoughts into a meaningful pattern. And in these moments of peaceful stillness and calm he seems blessed in a way I don’t know how to reach. It is as if we are meant to be alone for that moment however long it stretches, he lost in contemplation while I am left waiting and holding on for the moment to pass in order to reach above to get back to him.
“Come on, come on, let’s go” his voice pleaded. No it wasn’t a Ritchie Valens song, rather Beloved pleading with me to hurry it up a bit before the light shifted too much.
He tossed the bag impatiently over his shoulder, tightened his grip on the four-footed one’s leash and with a quick wave he ducked around the corner. It wasn’t an act of cruelty that he wasn’t waiting, he needed the light for the pictures and I was in a dawdling kind of mood.
Sure part of that was lupus slowing me down, but I wanted to take in nature before it too shifted into a last burst of brilliant colors. Now, as it hung in the balance, the sweet warmth just there on the edge of the crisp morning fog I wanted to take it all in. Savor it and store it for the coming days of white walls, ceilings and hospitals.
And Beloved too played a part in almost fm his for hen was capturing nature for me to view later during those hard days ahead. I had told him to surprise me with the photos later, when I would need them.
And so he took off ahead of me, taking pictures of plants, sky and animals as it pleases him. And I took my time, enjoying the gentle breeze on my skin and marvelling at how dark the shade was prior to me taking a corner and suddenly being in wonderful sunlight.
The four-footed one when on a shopping spree earlier. She’s normally a saver when it comes to money, but now and then she just has to have something and so she allows a little money to leave her possession.
I know it seems odd, a dog who saves money, but she doesn’t just do that, she finds her own. Shed probably make money if people would pay her, but as it is, she finds dropped money on the ground. She promptly picks this money up and basically spits it out at us in return for a treat, also known as trade. Her found money is put away until she has enough for a special shopping day.
Some people tell me that her treat she earns when I ask her trade is her payment, but trade is basically what we do with her to get her to drop anything she can’t eat. Trade started when she found a big clod of dirt she was going to consume, I offered her the trade of two whole pieces of her kibble in return for the dirt. Since she’s food motivated this worked well and has continued to work when she simply cannot heed the command to leave something alone.
Her latest shopping spree ended in the acquisition of hair products, well okay coat conditioner and waterless shampoo as well as trade items, and her special purchase which is a small yet durable alligator. She seems smitten with the alligator taking it with her everywhere she can and trying to sneak it into place it isn’t allowed such as her little pool. Now I know some of you are thinking she’s a smart dog, and she is, I mean she knows alligators require water. It’s just that her alligator is of the plush variety. You know, the kind that doesn’t need water or feeding and in return won’t basically kill you and then consume you.
Because she can go into this store she gets to pick out her special purchase, typically this is the one I got she finds that she refuses to give up. Thankfully the store we go to doesn’t have that many things at her level and I’m extra thankful that what is at her level is affordable and not always of the food variety.
When I was young I used to catch fireflies in jars. I thought they were the most magical things ever, they were like little flying flashlights. I’d grab some glass jars, ones my mother would never use again for food stuff(typically by the time I got them they had already been used as vases for wildflowers and such instead) and lids in preparation for the hunt.
When the time was just right id head out into the yard and start to capture them in my jars. One bug per jar was my limit and before I caught another I had to secure the one I’d just caught in the jar by screwing the lid on tight. I always imagined lighting up a room with jars of fireflies. In no time I’d have my quota of the bugs flitting around securely in their respective jars.
Inevitably, as if by magic, my father would stop by to see the evening’s catch. (It took me a while to figure out that if he stood at a certain angle at the window he could see when all my jars were filled and nearly on the table outside. When I discovered that the magic seemed to slip away.) And just as inevitable, after commenting on the number I had caught, my father would gently suggest that I release them to go on about their business.
I remember he told me once that all that flashing was their way of communicating to each other and he couldn’t think of a more sad way to die than to be trying to communicate with flashes that none of your own kind were around to see. He also let me know that my glass jars were a prison for the innocent bugs who were suddenly serving an unjust sentence for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Usually my father would help me unscrew each jar and set the fireflies free. He told me that when they were free and flashing around everyone got to enjoy their beauty.
Relationships are sometimes like this, we try to posses or own someone rather than allowing their true beauty to shine rough freely. I was reminded of this again today after hearing stories from young women who were free come a cult like group. And like those fireflies, these young women are finding ways to communicate with others after being hidden away from the world. I hope that these young women, just like the fireflies, make their way into freedoms do shine beautiful for a long time.
I was looking at the flowers in the garden today and realized they are “safe” flowers. They are flowers that I know do well and don’t mind if I don’t get around to watering them. They tolerate my neglect at times just as they tolerate my attention at other times. These flowers have proven over the years that they will do what flowers do regardless of my attempts to nurture them.
I enjoy the brilliant pops of color these flowers bring to my garden. I also enjoy the way the different perfumes mix and mingle as I make my way through the garden. But at the end of the day the reality is these are the same types of flowers I use each year.
I’ve wanted to add other flowers to the garden, something a little more daring. But I know that not all flowers will tolerate the area I live in, just as they wont all tolerate my moments of attention and inattention. So I have played it safe, dreamed about bringing them into my garden, but nothing more. I don’t actually want to be responsible for the death of innocent flowers and plants!
I’ve mentioned my wishes to a few people, including my specialist and each has suggested I try at least one new flower or plant. As my specialist said, “most of what medicine has discovered is through trial and error”. He suggested that I look at new plants or flowers a little like a “clinical trial”. My specialist is helpful that way!
The truth is I let my need to be in control, due to the uncontrollable nature of lupus, creep into my garden. I can, however, view my garden as a place of healing and nurturing my health. And I can use my experience with lupus to see what the next option is to try, to see what we can add to the garden with e highest possibility of success.
I love the way light plays across stained glass. There is something utterly inspiring about how it never looks exactly the same and yet the overall look is not compromised. I have been known to seek out churches and such just to capture these works of arts.
Today while I was in between medical appointments I stopped off at a small chapel in the hospital to look at the stained glass. I hadn’t been in the chapel before and I was pleasantly surprised by the window I discovered. It looked sparkled and gleamed like brilliant jewels in the sun. The entire window consisted of various shades of purple.
purple, one of the colors for lupus. Lupus was why I was at the hospital for medical appointments. And just as the window was created in a variety of shades, lupus too behaves in various degrees. Some days are mild lupus days and others are deep and darker, making me wonder why I ever thought lupus might be mild. And like that stained glass window, how lupus behaves varies based on triggers rather than the angle of the sun.
Lupus is as intricate as the design built from small pieces of glass and lead. And depending upon how your day is going, lupus can have hidden surprises and moments of beauty. For me the moments of beauty with lupus comes from how lupus forces me to slow down and simply observe the wonders that are all around us. That’s the reality of being stained with lupus. You might be very ill and feel truly dreadful, but lupus also provides the means to simply be and take things as they come.