Lotus and Losing Jimmy

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July 10, 2002: This has been a strange week. I have been in a strange mood. Even the weather has been strange. We received twelve inches of rain over a three-day period, something that seldom happens here, especially in July! Our pond is overflowing, the fairy brook is flowing and the creek is flowing—not roaring, but flowing nicely. The ground is boggy and the hill will seep water into our driveway for weeks. We got the kind of rain we needed, a gentle one with occasional heavy showers so there was not so much fast run-off that is so eroding to the land and creek banks. 

It took a lot of courage to put the replay of our wedding up in the last Lair Log entry. I got a lot of favorable feedback from it, but it is difficult to make oneself that vulnerable even to friends and family. I have been reaching out to others so constantly these last two weeks, and that leaves me feeling quite vulnerable and exposed and uncomfortable. And here I am exposing myself again in this entry. I wonder why I do this.

A milestone college reunion is coming up in October and I was trying to track down some old friends with whom I have lost touch to see if they plan to go, in an effort to decide whether I will go. Those I contacted were very friendly, but I am nonplussed when some people I ran around with on a daily basis for four years have trouble remembering who I am at first. Not because I consider myself so memorable, but because I remember them so clearly even though a lot of years have gone by. A few years ago I located one of my former room mates whom I particularly enjoyed and my call was treated with suspicion at first, sort of a “why are you calling me?” attitude. After we talked a bit she relaxed and we had an enjoyable conversation. Yet her response puzzled me. I have such an interest in people, and to an extent, when I give my heart in friendship it stays given. But when I run into that kind of resistance, I wonder again, why do I do this? Perhaps I am disheartened and grieving, or perhaps I am simply tired and tempted to shut all this down. I will have to give it some thought.  

My mood started when we got the sad news that one of our very dear friends and classmates, Jimmy Rayburn had died on June 26th. By “we” I mean our high school class members. We had not known he was so sick and his death was a shock to us. Jimmy was in the innermost circle and had charisma that made him very well liked in school and throughout the years. We are going to miss him so much. Several of us got in touch with each other from our class, just to reaffirm how much we mean to each other and to share our mourning. We have lost several of our female class members and it hurt so badly. This is the first close male member of the class we have lost. We knew it would hurt but were not prepared for it to hurt all of us  so deeply. It also makes us feel more at risk to our age. We have an all-school reunion coming in October and many of us are planning to attend. These reunions are always well attended, but now it seems even more important to get together once again. 

As soon as the land dries a bit and I can walk again in the wildflower area off the porch, I will perform a little ceremony in which I scatter wildflower seeds in celebration of Jimmy’s life, and record it in our “Celebrations of Life” book as is our tradition here at The Lair. Then when the flowers are thriving, I can look out over them and remember our times with Jimmy. That brings a tiny measure of peace. So much of my heart is in that wildflower patch, with loved ones and friends now gone, and memories. 

I was going through some old pictures looking for one to use for my college memory book that the college puts together for the reunion class and I ran across a picture of one of my cousins seated on his helmet in the middle of Austria somewhere during World War II. He had taken time to send it to me (I was just a kid) with a sweet note while he was off fighting. Another was of his brother, a most precious favorite of mine, also in service, who died in India while we were waiting for his return after the War was over. Since the 4th of July was close, this brought thoughts of gratitude to all who have fought and sacrificed through the years so that we can be free, and such anger that such a cowardly enemy threatens all this again. My heart weeps because the killing never stops. 

Moving to happier subjects, we have a new baby at The Lair; another baby gold fish in the sugar kettle fountain. I was so surprised to see it. The original fish are getting quite large. We had four originally, three white or white and gold, and one gold. Now we have three gold and the three white ones.

 I have been trying to get a picture of the raccoon that comes up every evening trying to get to the cat food before I remember to pick it up. Sally messed one good one up by running up to the door and barking at him and this afternoon I missed a great shot by not having my camera out and turned on when he came by and drank out of the fountain. I’ll get him yet.  Birds are everywhere in the trees. No luck whatsoever with the fruit and butterfly feeder. We aren’t seeing many butterflies at all and the fruit was merely feeding the grasshoppers so I took it all in and will try with the feeder again in the fall. 

Two years ago I was at Hickory Hill Herbs in town and saw an Egyptian Lotus blooming in their water garden. I had never seen one before and I was much impressed with its beauty. I did not have my camera with me, but the picture in my heart remained hauntingly lovely. This year I asked Paula to call me when it bloomed, and she did. The flowers are open in the mornings and closed in the afternoons. (Hmmm. In reference to paragraphs two and three above, maybe it is time for me to close down some of my openness at this stage of life.)  No wonder they were such a decorative item in Egyptian art! Here are some of the pictures.

lotus closed
Lotus closed in the afternoon

lotus full open
Lotus fully open in the morning

lotus pod
Lotus finishing. This stage would lend itself to Chinese Brush Painting strokes.

lotus pod
Lotus pod with seeds; it contains the ending and the beginning at the same time.

Again, I think these are great meditation subjects and good visual prompts for writing in a journal.

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Last revised: November 26, 2010

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