Flashbacks & Irises

The sun showed up only for a quick cameo today around Noon and then executed the perfect Irish Goodbye, slipping off quietly before anyone had a chance to notice and leaving room only for rain. I’ve been working on schoolwork, a grant for a client, and a couple of other bits of work that needed to be taken care of today while Dan has been working on putting up sheetrock where we took out the cabinets, so he can install the wineglass rack later tonight. Even though it was raining this morning and chilly, I set myself up at my beautiful old railroad desk on the front porch and worked there for a couple of hours, until the wind picked up so much I had to come inside and put on a sweater.

We had to run into town this afternoon to stop at the Post Office and pick up a package the carrier wouldn’t deliver. It was a package of solar lights that will fit (I hope) into the tops of the fencepost all the way up the driveway. I thought it might be nice to have a welcoming drive coming into the house, since everything else about the place is so welcoming. We’ll install them tomorrow, since putting them up today would be a waste of battery and our energy in the rain.

This morning, I stepped out in the rain wearing a pair of Dan’s Crocs, so I could take a photo of one of the lovely light purple irises clustered in the back. I’ve taken photos of them before, but since it was raining, there were big, beautiful droplets of water clinging to them, making them look like magnifying glasses enhancing the beauty of their crepe-papery petals. I decided I would look up why irises are called by that name, and one quick Wikipedia search told me they are named for the mythological goddess Iris, the goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the gods, or rather, their link to humanity. acted as the link between heaven and earth. It’s said that purple irises are planted over the graves of women to summon the goddess Iris to guide them in their journey to heaven.

It seems so natural that in this place where cardinals proudly leap from the mountain laurel to the base of the old, broken birdbath in the yard, to the fenceposts and branches outside nearly every window, another sign of beauty and homage in death is found. Maybe I’m crazy, but I wonder if it’s possible that all the symbols of those who have gone on to happiness before me are dropping by here because it’s such a place of peace and tranquility and happiness, and they’re all letting me know that they’re happy for me, too.

This afternoon, I decided to warm the house up and use up some sour cream we had sitting in the refrigerator, so I put together a batch of Gram Doris’s sugar cookies. Whenever I make them, I think of the old, silver cookie tin she kept them in on top of the dryer (or was it the washer in that corner of the kitchen?), and I think of how she used to say you could put a raisin in the center or opt for a nut meat. The words nut meat sounded so old-fashioned and strange to me that I could hardly think it without laughing. And I remember how she would make them just so I’d have a cookie to grab on my way out the door to work or to a gig or rehearsal.

I know she loved me, and I loved her, and even though I know I was such a disappointment to her in so many ways because I didn’t wear loads of makeup or dress in fancy frocks, I know she was proud of me and my ability to write and draw and sing, and well…I remember her once telling me that she was proud of me because I could do anything at all, which was something most people couldn’t do. But the more I think about it, she definitely could (and did) do all sorts of things no one ever thought she’d be able to do. She was creative and talented with a needle or a negative to retouch, and she could turn anything into a beautiful place because she had such style. I wonder if I got any of my ability from her to turn places and photos into something that goes beyond ordinary and glitters with a little secret magic? I like to think it is so and that she and my other guardian angels come to visit me often, either dressed as an iris sparkling with a dusting of diamond-like raindrops, a magnificent cardinal positioning himself on the spring green grass to show his vibrant colors even more, or as the warmth the oven blasts when I open it to check and see if the cookies are baked and ready for sampling.

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