Friday, October 20, 2017

last words (with berries)


 These days I often think about dying, and death. Which also makes me think about life, and living. I've been close to what feels like a lot of dying people, people I loved. My father, my mother, my dearest friend, my stepmother, my brother.


I was with my father exactly when life left him. My stepmother was out, buying him a Jamba Juice, the only thing he would eat those final days. Boysenberry. I held his hand, he held my hand, and his last words were, "Stay." Pause. "Stay." I did.

I wasn't with my mother at her moment of death, but when I left the hospice for the final time, her last words to me were, "Give us a hug." The hospice people were lovely. They brushed her hair and remarked how pretty she was.

The last day I saw my brother, in the hospital he never left, a week before he died, he wanted Trader Joe's Kombucha and frozen strawberries. The only other thing he wanted was his old radio, so he could listen to baseball games. His last words to me were close to my mother's. "Give me a hug."

Dying is profound. The most important thing I've learned in that realm is you never want to let someone die alone. They want to be touched, held, remembered, loved. They might want berries too. Isn't that what we all want? To be touched, held, remembered, loved. (And eat berries.)

So, the part about dying making me think about living. After the first few deaths I had that, "seize the day" urge, and did the crazy thing of opening an antique store four hours from home, because I thought it would be fun. (It was and it wasn't. It's how this blog got started.)

With my brother's recent death, I've found a different tone. It has to do with love, and being present.


To be continued. Maybe.
Photos taken at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Looking

Brooklyn, New York

                                                                  Hello, my friends.

I've been away for too long, but, as the saying goes: 
The more things change, the more they stay the same. 
(Or something.)

Kawasi Hasui, 1923. Seen at the Clark Museum, Williamstown Massachusetts

 I've discovered an era of Japanese prints that I love--Shin Hanga, from the first half of the twentieth century, moving away from traditionalists like Hokusai, toward modernism.

Sea roses, Portland Maine
 My love for flowers and the world of nature continues. 
No matter how much I look, there is always something new to see, 
or a new way of looking at it.



Teddy Bear Cholla, Tucson Arizona

 I try to remember to look up, to look down, 
to look wherever I am not looking. 
To investigate tree bark and ditch flowers.


Ice, Andes New York


I get absorbed in watching ice form, water flow, the colors of wild flowers. 
Can perspective be a saving grace?

Greenpoint waterfront, Brooklyn

 I hope that you are well, I really do.
xo
Jennifer



Saturday, September 3, 2016

summer


Andes, New York

 It's been a summer of variations on the themes of recent summers. 
Some weekends in the Catskills, not enough, but one day, if I'm lucky,
I will have lots and lots of time there, whole seasons to explore
all those greens.


jewel weed, also known as touch-me-not


As ever I am enchanted by wildflowers, little gifts that just appear
on roadsides and streamsides, unmowed lawns, 
wherever there is a little bit of space and dirt and light.

Taki the cat; Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Ten days in NYC, apartment/cat/garden sitting
for one of my sons. 
Ten days of walking, taking ferries, subways and busses,
taking it in, that endlessly interesting city.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Botanic gardens in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Monet, Metropolitan Museum of Art

So many museums.


There have been lots of cats as well.
I fostered three litters of kittens for the shelter where I volunteer
(and kept the one in the picture).


I am fortunate to experience so much goodness and beauty.
The real life problems exist, 
but I just want to share the good things, 
and hope you find a bit of pleasure in them,
a reminder maybe of some wildflowers you saw,
or a kitten you once loved.


xo, Jennifer



SaveSave

Saturday, June 25, 2016

frog pond, not peony





The palest of pinks 
with deep green leaves or a tabby cat.
Mountain laurel. Tabby cat. Paoneia.

Words. I used to love words, to write. 

I wrote poetry, novels, essays,
a few published, most not, but I kept writing,
because it was my way of understanding the world, and myself.

In the last few years I've lost that.
Maybe because I'm painting.
Maybe because I turned to blogging and now Instagram
which I love, but few words are required.
I still read constantly, but writing? 
Creative or otherwise doesn't have a place in my life.



It's sort of amusing that I'm thinking of returning to regular blogging to get back into writing. It's like I've forgotten how to write privately. I used to be obsessed. I worked as a lawyer in the family courts, cared for my three children, and wrote into the wee hours. Just me, pen and notebook, or later, computer. Word processor--who remembers that pair of words? Anyway, life... (that's an Instagram poem.) The thing is, I have one more tangle I really need to figure out, and the only way I think I can do it is by writing.


What I need to write about is a complex personal ecosystem. It's a frog pond, not a peony. It's a lot of dark and murky with some wildflowers and frogs and dragonflies mixed in. (Metaphors! Similes!) I'm thinking of blogging as my sketchbook. To be continued...

Monday, June 6, 2016

Pink Hills and Wildflowers




 New Mexico---I spent most of my time in the countryside, taking in the mysterious landscapes--red hills, pink hills, black hills, mountains and mesas, buttes and canyons. This most memorable place, Tent Rocks, a short steep hike up a slot canyon, was otherworldly. Truly, as though I stepped onto another planet or a Star Wars movie. The trip was a cliche--me following the Georgia O'Keeffe trail, but it was also a trip of epiphanies and learning. Geology, Pueblo Indians, the atomic bomb, there was much to think about.



 Then home, where I try to hold on to what I learned, 
and not let it all slip away,



 It's wildflower season in the Catskills.
 I savor the familiar landscape, the creek, the frog pond, 
the crisp starry nights.
I walk downstream, among the ferns.


I hope you are enjoying the season, whatever it is,
wherever you are.

xo, Jennifer






Monday, May 2, 2016

Around Here

Poppy

 Hello friends. It's all kittens, all the time. I've been volunteering at a cat shelter, and offered to foster five kittens from three different litters, and the heroic mother cat, who has been caring for all of them. It's been great fun, and I love them all, but no, I'm not keeping any. Once they are spayed/neutered and healthy, the shelter will find homes for them. Kittens must be adopted with another kitten or young cat (or the mother cat) and it comforts me to know that some of them will be adopted together.


I've missed a couple of Catskill weekends because of family stuff and kitten emergencies, but look forward to getting back later this month and seeing the wildflowers. I finally have a few blooms in my yard, and supplement them with flowers from the store. I need flowers. There, I said it.


I'm still painting regularly. Seascapes, landscapes...Thinking about night flowers 

and frog ponds.


A few evenings ago I went to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, which stays open until the civilized hour of 10 p.m. three nights a week. I saw this Edward Hopper painting, A Room in Brooklyn, and it was like looking in a mirror.

Although I rarely post, here, I will continue to do so, to keep the thread, the connections, with those of you who aren't on Instagram. And maybe someday I'll post more in depth. I find myself staying away from the computer more, leaving my phone behind sometimes, picking up paper and pencil.

I hope that all is well with you.

xo, Jennifer

Monday, April 4, 2016

April Snow


Catskill hills



Aji and hyacinths

It is April, and today it snowed and tomorrow it will snow and at night the temperature will dip close to single digits. I worry about the birds, and the blossoms. I don't actually have any blossoms, but my neighbors do. I'm not going to complain. I can buy flowers at the store and bring them in my house. I have a house, and money to buy flowers, and a family that loves me, and a few friends and cats and lots of books. I have everything. I love the sharp seasons of New England, and  unpredictable weather. Actually, weather can be pretty well predicted these days, but we can't control it. And that makes me happy. A clear night with a splash of stars gives way to slow moving clouds. Wind blows, snow falls, sun shines.