Monday, June 18, 2012

Joy of June

Still in a somber mood these days, although the perfect weather of the weekend, and the assault of June flowers - rhododendron and lilac still going strong, every last little lupine floweret now popped out, honeysuckle and spirea and a bunch of other flowering bushes well on their way to glory, beach roses taunting us with their uncultivated proliferation - are doing their best to cheer us up. It seems quite right to think about dying, at this time of lushness. Not in the angst of April, in which cold and warm, fear and faith battle, but in the joy of June. If our friend David had died in January, it would have been much harder to bear.

An Owls Head neighbor did die in January, He was older, no longer in the prime of life, but he still seemed active until the end, mowing the lawn, driving his little pickup to Rockland, fiddling with his antique Ford. Although he was buried in Rockland, where he worked his whole life, there is now a striking memorial to him on his property. Just up the hill from his house, on a large stone carried by glaciers from somewhere else and therefore called an “erratic,” his family has had his last name carved - incisively, eternally. The rock rests on the edge of the lawn that he was so particular about, just in front of a half acre of magnificent purple lupine, that wildest and most ordinary of flowers, and backed by a dark stand of spruce. Plainness, and ordinary strength, and a strong sense of home got him through life, and death. I walk past that rock every day. Cells grow and slough, and pine needles push and fall, and deer flies hatch and wait, and the hummingbird flies in a frantic arc of courtship, and the bald eagle tears at an eider duck in its talons, and my nephew's baby waxes, and my lost friend's body wanes, but the spirit and the atom go on forever.

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