12:57 pm. 6/24/17
It was the perfect night last night. The sky was clear and temperature was cool enough where sitting on the deck, snuggling under a quilt (homemade, of course) was perfect.
After a long day of doctor’s calls and caregiving visits, a night out on the deck was the perfect salve for a sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes painful day.
I tried to take a picture of the night sky from my deck. Unfortunately, the old ipad can only do so much, and capturing a night shot with any kind of clarity just isn’t in it’s wheelhouse.
I did find a picture on pixels.com that is pretty close to what we saw.
The moon wasn’t full last night, so there were many stars out. And there were fireflies. Tons and tons of fireflies. Some had flashes of light that lasted so long they left spots in front of my eyes as if I had my picture taken. Others were fleeting and swift, skipping through the darkness like stones over a calm lake. There were so many, it was hard to distinguish the flash of a firefly from the flash of a plane’s lights.
Most of all, it was calm and peaceful and serene. It was my version of going to church. Usually, I feel the deep sense of peace while at the ocean or in the mountains. Last night I felt it in my backyard. What an awesome blessing to receive during a time when I needed it most.
Did I find answers? No. Did I find acceptance? Maybe. What I mostly came away with was the idea of how truly beautiful the silhouettes of the trees were against the deep midnight blue sky. I’ve seen that image at least a thousand times in a thousand different scenes. But for some reason, those silhouettes of the trees really resonated with me last night.
I reveled in their lack of detail; of the simplicity of the shapes void of all color and texture and form. The individual leaves married into one tree shape form, no one leaf standing out more than the other. The night was drawn in broad brush strokes that wouldn’t be possible during the light of day.
As a writer, we’re taught that details are our friends. More than friends. They’re the life-blood of a story. They build the world and the make the characters real enough that the reader considers them friends, not just made-up characters on a page. A story cannot exist without details.
It’s the same in real life. We start out with an idea. A silhouette of a concept. I want to be a writer. Then we fill in the details. What do I want to write? Fiction or news reporting? Will I go to school or wing it on my own? Will I be able to make a living and if not, what else will I do to survive? Details.
Some concepts we don’t get to choose. They choose us. Being born into a family. What it means to be a daughter. What it means to be an only child. We don’t get to choose the details that we are immersed in from, quite literally, our first breath. The family dynamics. The manner in which we were raised. The road we’ll walk with our parents.
It’s the natural order of life that children outlive their parents. Therefore, children will watch their parents die. A silhouette of any family tree will show you that. The names of grandparents, parents and children organized in such a a way where one sees the natural order of life at a glance. It’s not so scary in that watered-down, silhouette form. We accept it as the way life is and move on with our day to day lives. However, when it actually happens, the light-of-day details to that particular tree are a much harder to watch and even harder to accept.
This past week, I’ve had a lot of light-of-day details thrust upon me. As an only child, I knew I’d be responsible for caring for my parents one day. My mother told me this from the time I was about five years old on. I’ve made choices in my life based around this fact, not because she expected me to do it, but because I’ve always felt it was the right thing to do.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Holy cow, is it NOT easy! The details of this particular journey are excruciating for me and my mom. My dad died very quickly. There were no decisions to be made. No multiple doctors to consult with. This time is different. There’s so much unknown, and answers are coming at a snail’s pace. Or at least it feels that way. With all that being said, I know there are many who have it much worse.
I am handling it, day by day, hour by hour. But these details are ones I hoped never to see, naive as that idea may have been. I think there will be hard choices coming in the next week. But they should resolve things somewhat, one way or the other, which will be a relief to both my mom and I.
Last night, watching the silhouettes of the trees against the backdrop of the starry sky, I longed to see my own world as a silhouette. A shadow box picture of a mother and child, void of any conflict or pain. Beautiful in it’s simplicity and in it’s absence of detail.
2:07 pm 6/24/17 I blew my time by 10 minutes today!