Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lives and loves of others

My reading of late has been by or about Alice Steinbach, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Harry Gordon Selfridge, and Jackie Kennedy Onassis. And as I read, time collapses, bends, folds in on itself.  I am reminded of the predictable cycles (crises, some might say) through which all must navigate, as well as the transitory nature of life that seems long only for the first three decades or so.  After that, the speed with which we realize life's realities is matched or exceeded only by the speed of life itself. 

The changes and twists in our own lives are part of why we read about the lives of others.  To remind ourselves, perhaps, that we are not so different from others.  And to mine the short life of another (regardless of how long in years) for the wisdom to transform our own.  Life is a funny thing, understood by many of us far better at a distance or in the rear view mirror.

One of the things I fail to remember with any consistency is that nature--specifically the collaboration of gardener and garden to learn and honor the seasons--is where I find respite. Steinbach researched, wrote and traveled. Millay wrote and lived her poetry. Selfridge created the luxury experience we know today as shopping.  And Jackie Kennedy Onassis? She remained true through several recreations of self to her belief that "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much."

And as a reminder of the speed of change, photos from my garden. Yesterday and today. Twenty-four hours. My role as a gardener is to collaborate rather than control, to enjoy the beauty in the moment, and to remember my relatively small role.  This, perhaps, is the best reason to read about the lives and loves of others.

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