Friday, October 12, 2007

It's all a Mystery

I was back in New England last week, visiting my daughter's college and staying with several dear friends. It's funny, when you live somewhere for a long time you grow attached to certain types of vegetation. I know that when I left the San Juan Islands the Madrona trees brought tears to my eyes. And when I left New England one of the things I missed the most were the Paniculata Grandiflora hydrangea trees. Out here hydrangeas are bushes at best, but in New England the stately Paniculata Grandiflora has the graceful shape of a fruit tree, and in the fall its conical clumps of flowers turn a lovely rosy pink. You can cut the flowers off and preserve the pink (I learned this in college) simply by placing the stem in a soda bottle full of sugar water.

So when I drove to the graveyard beside our old home in Vermont, I was delighted to see that someone had planted a hydrangea tree near a patch of graves, and I photographed it in all its fall glory. It wasn't until I got home that I saw the name on the grave beside it. The grave says, simply, CHILD.

Now you need to know that there is a beautiful pond across the street from the graveyard, known as Child's Pond (here's what it looked like that lovely New England morning).

... and there are numerous members of the Child family buried in this graveyard, some dating back to the 1600's. But there is something about this gravestone that speaks to me of the one loss that seems most difficult to bear; the one hole that seems darkest and most impossible to fill: the loss of a child. As I said in my very first post, this blog is dedicated to a child who was lost. And Katie is not the only child whose loss has touched me deeply; there was also my daughter's dear friend Garth, who died six years ago this past summer.

So here again the mystery emerges: how did I not notice the grave? How is it that photographing one thing I miss brings to mind others that I miss much more? How is it that this photograph is so closely tied to the holes I showed earlier? And how is it that in a world where children are dying every day we who are left behind still dare to hope and believe? I guess that's all part of the mystery.


Unknown said...

Thankyou for sharing. The photos and your words made me catch my breath.

Gberger said...

Thank you for your gift of honoring Katie (& Garth) with your thoughts and your art. It is a comfort to me to know that she is remembered, and you do so with such love and grace.