Yes, I know, I am pushing the envelope in terms of Webster’s definition of condensation. Think not of vapor condensing into liquid; rather of the process of becoming more concentrated. Think condensed milk, concentrated orange juice, sauce reduction when cooking; life being distilled to its essence – my experience over the last few years, intensified by the recent admonition to ‘those of a certain age’ ( and now everyone) to stay home until the threat of this pandemic passes.
I would venture that we all come to this chapter of life in different ways and for a variety of reasons other than simply age. Commencing this chapter was of necessity for us. Leaving our beloved family home, our accustomed life, much of what we had worked for…..made this transition a bitter pill. Intellectually we could get our heads around it, rationalize it, even embrace it. Our hearts were another matter.
We are now condensed into what we fondly call ‘the cottage’, with far less space and fewer possessions. Having placed beloved pieces in good homes; stored the miscellany in neatly labeled and numbered stacks of white-lidded boxes; found joy in new neighbors and new friends.
Although I still miss the previous chapter of my life (I reread it often in my mind and a piece of my heart remains in a sunny lemon orchard), I have learned that condensation can be positive. The flavor of life itself becomes more intensified and sweet. We are being distilled down to the essence of who we are; reduced from worry and regret, to numbering our blessings, giving thanks for where we are….trusting God.
“Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped for. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”
– John Piper –
In our world today ‘contagion’ is on every mind. As we take steps to slow the spread, to flatten the curve, as they say, we can also create an atmosphere of positive contagion. Walking in my new neighborhood yesterday, as the sun shone briefly in the late afternoon following rain, I was surprised by a new feeling of community. Children out on their bikes with parents jogging alongside, couples walking dogs, and babies in strollers, lone walkers and runners. As I passed, a smile, a nod, a word of greeting – a sense that we are in this together. We’ve always been in this life together, whether acknowledged or not; now we have a common thread running through the fabric of our lives.
My job involves bringing beauty and order into the lives of others. I like it to be a collaboration – my clients ideas and sensibilities, filtered through my eye, executed to our mutual satisfaction. So many different ways exist to share beauty….a picture, a story, a thought, a word of endearment or encouragement….the list really is endless. In the digital age in which we live, we can be contagious in a positive way, without risking the negative.
Logging in this morning, I see that I have not posted on this blog since 2017. Many events conspired to rob me of the joy I once had. In 2020, in the mist of pandemic, I’m taking a fresh look at life through a very different lens and finding it more beautiful than ever.
As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Several weeks ago my five year old granddaughter took what we had accumulated from a bit of garden clean-up and fashioned a still-life on the flagstone….beauty in my eyes and hers….possibly in yours as well.
I hope to continue to share that which is beautiful in my world, to reconnect with past loyal followers and make new friends. Please respond; let me know what your world looks like today – spread the beauty! Be well!
One thousand heavenly voices
singing Dona Nobis Pacem
in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
John Nava’s tapestries line the walls
my cousin Katherine Rose standing in as Jacinta
Sometimes…between a girl and a horse…magic happens:
life lessons happen –
…a joy to observe!!!
enjoying the harvest
Remnants of a tiny granddaughter’s visit…
seeing the world through her eyes…magical!!!
…wandering the rural highways of Colorado – stepping visually into the past…
…connected to Colorado by family rather than residence, I love to visit, to feel the pull of the Italian immigrants who were my grandparents; their children, one of whom was my mother…
Nearing the end of their stay in our box, the owlets are climbing with great care to the top.
Against the backdrop of other winged creatures,
flexing their wings,
retreating to security inside
or flying into the night.
I am reminded of a quote given to each of our adult children with a copy of the family history:
‘Every child deserves two things: one is roots, the other is wings.’
We have provided roots – a barn owl box made of 100 year old barn wood – and their parents have given them wings – literally and figuratively! God speed little ones!
a boy and his dog
assemblage and photography by Curren Ivor – with encouragement from Nona
Please welcome guest blogger and photographer (with the exception of the pictures in which she appears)
granddaughter, daughter, cousin, niece, nine year old, horse girl, swimmer
Elin Mae and Haven Rose playing together…
Curren Ivor and Elin Mae hugging. They are the best of cousins…
Elin playing in the dirt like her Nona Susan…
Here is Chad Elliott outside with the family…
Curren Ivor and the piggy…
The beautiful flowers of the orchard…
The beautiful Elin Mae…
The handsome Curren Ivor…
Haven Rose in her Nona Susan’s apron…
Very old horse shoes that Nona Susan put out for Haven.
Curren Ivor in the tractor taking after his Papa Bruce…
Brother and sister in the tractor taking after their Papa Bruce…
Thank you everyone who looks at my blog!
Written by Haven Rose Wennerstrom granddaughter of Susan Wennerstrom.