Saturday, December 5, 2009

Humility and Abundance

Let me tell you about my day.  Keep in mind it is only 2 pm, but it has been amazing already.
I arose early (for me, anyway) this Saturday morning, threw on some yoga togs and my coat and went to Spectrum for a class.  After the wonderful hour of yoga I drove to the Pearl Farmer's market and got some gorgeous veggies, some lavender "stuff", and some freshly pressed olive oil from a local grower.

When I returned home I was greeted by our little dog, and it was clear that she knew if was "coffee time".  She loves CT because she knows that Tim and I will do one of two things:  sit outside and bask in the sun on the patio or retreat to the inside of the cabana.  Either way, she enjoys having us outside with her.  This day, it was inside the cabana as the temperature was still pretty cold, even with the bright sunshine.  Tim makes the world's best coffee and today was no exception.  I drank my coffee and mused about my disappointing attempt to prevent frostbite in my garden.  It made me sad to think about how lovely it all was yesterday and how I wanted it to be beautiful for our upcoming house guests and my daughters, who live in the northeast,  and will soon be home for the holidays.  Oh well.  I forgot that the elements are the real boss of the garden...

While I was still thinking about all this, several things happened.  The first was opening and reading Virginial Spiegel's new book, "Wild at the Edges:  Inspiration from a Creative Life", self-published on Blurb.  I recommend this lovely little book to everyone, artist or not.  Virginia and her sister travel to the Boundary Waters and spend 10 days twice a year canoeing, hiking, camping, journaling, photographing & drawing, and reconnecting.  Just the two of them in the middle of a vast wilderness.
Think about that for a minute.  Then go to Blurb and purchase one of these lovelies for yourself.  I can't decide what is more beautiful:  the words or the photography.  Virginia's thoughts, poetry, and her visual sensibility resonate deeply within me.   I see my garden as a metaphor for my life:  it gives me joy, beauty, the occasional sorrow (hello hard frost!), and a continual cycle of renewal.  Just like life.  Just like art.  Is there really a separation of these things?
Here is the cover of the book

A sample of the beautiful words and images of Virginia's book....

Virginia writes about the Beauty in the Details, looking and really seeing, working in a series and finding the joy & passion that comes with digging deep and exploring the meaning of an idea in a body of work.
Here is where you can order a copy of her book:

All these thoughts were rolling around inside me as I went back into the house.  Just as Tim was preparing to leave for work he spied some packages on our front porch and brought them inside.  Ahhh.
More "Santa boxes", and I started wondering if it was one of my eBay acquisitions, or just what had arrived.  I looked at the return address on the first one, and was startled to see my stepmother's name.  What was this about?  I have a reasonable relationship with her but we don't communicate regularly, other than the annual holiday letter and maybe a couple other exchanges through the year.  I tore open the box and literally gasped for air:  inside were pieces of memorabilia that I had never seen before.
My father was a Naval Aviator in World War II.  I knew about it, but not too much:  he never talked about it.  Some guys talk a lot about their experiences of the war.  Not my father.
Out of the box came a lovely 11x14 hand-tinted portrait of my young father in his navy uniform.  Two boxes emerged:  The Distinguished Flying Cross and The Air Medal.

inside were his wings and a couple of his ribbons.
I know there are more, but I don't know where they are.
The wool shoulder epaulets are all that remain of his uniform.

Rex J Tucker

I lost my father suddenly in February, 1980.  He had been a diabetic for 30 years but you would never have guessed it:  he was a healthful, active man.  His death was unexpected and too soon:  he was only 58 years old.  Next February will mark the 30th anniversary of his death.  I always miss him, but I've had  a lot of time to get used to his absence.  Today, when I opened that box, my loss was fresh and painful again.  I don't know any other way to put it.  I stood in my kitchen and cried out loud and for a long time.  I can't remember when I felt such a deep stab of mourning for him.  It has been a very long time, indeed.  It is time to pick up the phone and call my step-mother.  I need to thank her for giving me a few morsels of my father.  I needed them.


  1. Thanks for sharing about Virginia Spiegel's book. It looks interesting!

    Your dad died pretty young. I understand how you still miss him after all these years. My dad died in 1990, and I still miss him, too.

  2. Oh Leslie, I cried just reading your post tonight! I so understand what you are experiencing. Maybe that is why I can't go through my mother's things - I just don't want to let go any part of her. Hugs and more hugs

  3. I completely understand, Laura. I have done it in "waves". It is a very difficult emotional task. I still have some of that to do with my mother's things and it has been 6 years.
    Sorry to cause tears with the post, but tears come with this territory, don't they? Hugs back to you!

  4. Thanks for sharing such a tender and intimate moment with us. I lost my dad in '74. You are right. Tears come with this territory. The distinguished flying cross is pretty impressive. They did not hand those out for free.

  5. I'm weepy too. These treasures so often get lost and forgotten with time. My husband is a Naval Aviator. His wings and shoulder boards look just same albeit less worn. It cracks me up that your father is wearing his cover all jaunty. You don't see that anymore.

    So happy to hear another good review about blurb!

  6. Dear Leslie,
    What a lovely post about your dear father. How young and handsome and "jaunty" he was, and how much you resemble him!

    Linda Laird

  7. lovely, meaningful post. I can only imagine how close you felt to your father, opening that package...


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