Cornflowers sketched on porcelain reminded me of you that humid afternoon. Anticipating our conversations, the stuffy Philadelphia store, smelling of mustard, onions and incense, too crowded with overpriced goods from “exotic” lands where poor artists turned their craft into a trade to feed the village from dollars spent by the good-hearted and comfortable consumer who likely will never see the suffering, oppressed me .
And more so as I envisioned the early morning clouds rising, your sparkling lake, calls of water fowl, whispered conversation, strong, strong coffee in that porcelain cup, and you, your reassuring friendship stronger still than coffee and with no bitterness in all the many decades. Cornflowers,growing freely in your field, is so like your heart, brave, persistent, secluded; any reference to your body then blissfully unknown.
And after. I have never known a love to grow so strong in the face of certain ending. I have never known a love to grow stronger still each day as I discover new places in my heart I kept you with me. It is true, each day I find a piece of me which you alone allowed power to discover; and finding that, each day I feel again how much it is that I have lost since the morning I was told that you had gone.
The cornflower sketched on porcelain greeted me the first time there, the late spring light and all the glories of that place now seeming somehow truly an afterthought, a place for children’s play apart from intent, adult attention, a place for animals to run, but not, any longer, no more, the unifier, the center stage. Could it be that, without your love, the magnificence and splendour, the healing power we, each, could find in nature diminished itself in size and power. No god were you. One bears the stain of your stubbornness and another still grieves the consequences of your full autonomy. Love that is rich and generous is god-like enough for me. Life changing.
It was one of the few you loathed, but I suppose, it could have been another. Carelessly, he cast the cornflowers and porcelain upon the stone. My eyelids burned. My throat felt there was a fire. My brain searched and searched for meaning that this late gift had been destroyed.
I sought solace again in nature. Your empty chair in the shadow of the sun reproves me, and I walk on. The waters greet me so much sooner than they would have done before, the wide grand yard seems eaten up by lake. I close my eyes, steady breathing to the sound of small waves that are arriving. I again regard clear, clear cold northern waters, and turn away. The house appears unchanged.
Inside, he sits venturing a life without you. His face, bereft, conveys such sorrow, a fragment of what he feels. I love him more than ever. There was that time and now there is another. We will hold this sorrow the remainder of our days.
There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have been long extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light this world even though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.