Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Box of Treasures

Since I suffer from the heat we get here in the summer, on July 1st every year, I count 100 or so days, and set October 15 as the day when I can come out of summer hibernation and be a human being again. On October 15 this year, I got a bit more than I bargained for: A rainstorm with 2 1/2 hours of continuous rumbling thunder, flash floods and mudslides, including one that occurred on our highway, just east of our exit, and left several hundred vehicles trapped in 4 to 6 feet of mud. The highway was closed for a week and reopened today. I will probably write more about this and how it affected my place later. The above picture tells a part of my story.

Today, it has been six months since Errol died. No matter what happens in our lives, time moves on. I'm OK and by now I can even smile when a good memory comes to my mind. I still cry, but I find it healing. 

 What's left of my driveway/road. A neighbor will help.

As many of you know, I have created a new life for myself many times over during my lifetime, and this is what I'm working on now. The physical work involved in this is pretty huge. Errol had such problems getting rid of stuff, so now that falls to me. Depending on what I find, this makes me sad, or makes me smile, but it always makes me sneeze from all the dust that has gathered in the boxes.

Then today, I came upon a box, a shoe box, that I had forgotten about, filled with my own treasures. I pulled four items and put the rest in a better box to look at again, sometime in the future. 

There was a time in our marriage, early 90s, when Errol's troubled son came from NYC to live with us, on the exact same day that I ended up in the hospital, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It was a very, very difficult time for me, for our marriage, and I dreamed of a place far, far away. His son died in 1992, things calmed down, I learned to manage my diabetes, and we were good again, but it was rough for a while. During that time I wrote a list of what I wished for, for me alone with dogs, after I retired. This is it:

A small house near the ocean.
A small town or village nearby.
A Doberman Pinscher
A Poodle - Standard size
Large TV and VCR
A small car
Geraniums in pots, like my grandmother’s.
Sew, embroider, and crochet
Vegetable garden
Making new friends.

I smiled, because I now have most of that, different dogs, mountains instead of ocean, broken bicycle, no geraniums, and my roses died in the drought, but all the rest I have.

I also came upon an invitation to the wedding of my great-grandparents, my dad's grandmother and grandfather. 

Their date was March 25, 1882. What a treasure for me to keep.

Then I found this from London, 1961:

I pulled it out and thought, oh what fun, I can look up all the places I knew, where I lived, where I frequently traveled to, and so on. However, the writing is so darned small, I haven't been able to enjoy it just yet. 

The Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres

Then, finally, when I was young, I was a pretty heavy duty intellectual. The books I read amaze me now, the poems, I wanted to read it all, the great writers, the great intellectuals, Saint-Germain-des-Pres was my travel dream, the existentialists my heroes, Camus, Sartre, Beauvoir, I dreamed of living just like they...... 

Another hero of mine was the Indian writer, poet, and Nobel prize winner Rabindranath Tagore. And somewhere, sometime in my earlier life, I copied one of his incredibly beautiful verses. It is about youth, sorrow, and peace and I want to share it with you here:

I was walking along a path overgrown with grass, when suddenly I heard from someone behind, “See if you know me?”
I turned round and looked at her and said, “I cannot remember your name.”
She said, “I am that first great sorrow whom you met when you were young.”
Her eyes looked like a morning whose dew is still in the air.
I stood silent for some time till I said, “Have you lost all the great burden of  your tears?”
She smiled and said nothing.
I felt that her tears had had time to learn the language of smiles.
“Once you said,” she whispered, “that you would cherish your grief forever.”
I blushed and said, “Yes, but years have passed and I forget.”
Then I took her hand in mine and said, “But you have changed.”
“What was sorrow once has now become peace,” she said.
                                                                  Rabindranath Tagore

Reading this, I know that I'm relearning the language of smiles and that one day my sorrow will become peace.....

Samson Says: 

I guess we all learned something new about mommy: Intellectual, hmmm, don't know what that is, but it didn't work out for her, she didn't make it to Paris that much I know. And now, here she is, taking care of Faith and me, walking us in this muddy mess, giving eye drops, ear drops, pee medicine (Faith, not me) and good dinners. 

Have a nice day, everyone.


  1. love, love this post my friend. thanks for sharing. mailing your book tomorrow.

  2. Your post today says SO much--we miss Errol, too!! The piece from Tagore's book is lovely.

  3. Oh Inger, Rabindranath Tagore touched something deep in my heart too. This is a beautiful post about hopes and dreams some lost some found and all a cherished memory never to be forgotten. Full of peace. You sound good, that makes me very very happy. HUGS HUGS B (sorry about the mud though).

  4. oh, the look back is priceless. the quote is peaceful and hopeful. i am glad you are finding some smiles.

  5. Beautiful caring thoughtful words. The mud and washouts, too hard to comprehend, but so relieved you are safe. What a box of delights form those years.

  6. Hi Inger! What is it they say, that you sometimes have to look back to see where and how far you've come. I love the verse, it's perfect for me today, and for days ahead as well.

    I'm glad you are safe and doing well. It all truly is a process, but friends and our 4 legged family members do help to make it easy. Take care, and know that you're being thought of in a small town in Virginia! :-)

  7. Wow! Beautiful post, Inger! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, feelings and life with us. You are an amazing lady with a positive attitude that draws me to your posts... Oh, and Gracie says: Faith I had to have pee medicine too cause of a UTI whatever that is... I peed on the floor, right in front of mom so she took me to the vet and then came the medicine. She tricked me every single time, but then a treat followed. Hope you got a treat too. Samson, you are looking good!!! xoxoxo Gracie.

  8. Inger, I am glad you are finding some peace at this point. Also glad to know that you have people to help with some of your bigger chores, such as your driveway.

  9. That verse is beautiful. You are strong and resilient, Inger. l hope no one was injured in the mudslide. Perhaps you should frame you great-grandparents' wedding invitation. That's such a treasure.


    1. I will frame it, definitely. I had completely forgotten that I had it, which is such a shame..

  10. I am glad to see you here and knowing you are healing.

    What a wonderful treasure to find. The poems makes us realize, in the midst of turmoil it seems far more than after we've gone through it.

    Glad you are safe.

  11. I've thought about you much lately. Wondered how you are doing and if the mud slides were close. Hoping to find you safe. Such a beautiful piece about grief. More than a single tear slipped down my face! But we are always searching for peace, my friend!!

  12. I love that verse about sorow and peace. I always dreamed of a small house by the ocean, walking my dog, reading... when I'm alone. I have my small house and I can picture myself here, alone. I never could in our big house in Southern California. I'm hugely relieved that you are okay with all the rain and mudslides. I thought of you when I heard about the grapevine closing.

  13. I read those same writers, Inger, - Camus, Sartre,and de Beauvoir, I yearned after the intellectual life, too. .things have reach a plateau and some change ay be in order

  14. After losing two of my children I had a hard time going on and then I realized that as long as the memory remains they are alive in my heart! It doesn't hurt to thing of them, it makes me smile and remember. I could complain about the amount of time we had together or I can be grateful for the time we had together. I got to see them become adults, many are denied that! life is cruel sometimes but it is also breathtakingly beautiful! I am glad I got to have my life and that helps. sorry for this being so long, I kind of started rambling! I wish you peace!

  15. After sorrow; peace. A hopeful and inspiring message.

    As always, sending hugs.

  16. This is such a lovely post, Inger, and a beautiful reflection of your life lived.

  17. I love, love, love your list and how precious that you kept it in that shoe box for so long. I think that keeping a diary is good to read later. It's amazing how our perspective changes as we grow older but something never changes.

    I'm so sorry that your driveway was damaged by mud slides with the all the rain but I'm so glad someone will help fix it.
    Samson and Faith are such good company and I like seeing them in your post.
    Have a great day Inger.

  18. Lovely reflections in your thoughts today. Each day is a new beginning, but so sorry for the awful rain and mud. Yuck!

  19. What a beautiful post and you are getting close to the stage we all seek. That place when memories bring warm smiles, not sharp pain. It will happen.
    I am glad you have someone helping you with that road. Mercy.We hear about the damage on the news but it takes actually seeing how it effects those we know to really sink in. Hope the rough weather is over.

  20. What a beautiful passage and a great post.
    Sorry about all that mud. Wow what a lot of it.

  21. Nice post - i wondered if u had been affected but since I really don't know exactly the area you are in then I didn't know. It was quite a rain storm. I had never heard the dramatic thunder, lightning and rain storm we had up here - it was about four hours of nonstop action at night.

  22. Inger, thank you for this.
    And welcome back.

  23. In the last photo, Samson looks the intellectual, meditating on life and its ups and downs. :-) What an amazing post this was, Inger. My high school days were filled with myth and fantasy tomes. Big surprise there, right?

    It was only when I entered the university that I started reading poetry: Naruda, Dickinson, Keats, Elliot, Wallace Stevens, Poe, and others. I studied the stoic philosophers, and generally became even more introverted than in high school!!

    Your poor driveway and road -- what a mess! I am concerned at how you will ever clean it up. I pray that help comes to you quickly. Thanks for visiting my post and taking time to chat awhile. I have missed you.

  24. I'm visiting from JIm's blog. I heard about the bad AZ weather from my friend. Looks like you'll have a big messy job with your driveway. Reading between the lines, I assume you've experienced the loss of your life partner. I'm sorry for that. Your words and the writing of Tagore about grief are so meaningful. I hope time does bring peace and good memories.

  25. I love this post, dear Inger! Thank you so much for sharing your live, your thoughts and feelings with us.
    I truly admire your courage, strenght and hope.
    I am glad that you are finding some peace and smiles in your life, too.

    Did you believe me that I read many books of Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Sartre and I liked to read Rabindranath Tagore too! When reading them, principally Beauvoir, I dreamed of living like they in Paris...

    I'm so sorry that your driveway was damaged by mud and it is good that someone will help you to fix the road.
    Samson and Faith are always adorable and they are lovely friends! I always love seeing them in your posts.
    Wishing you a nice Sunday.
    Lots of Hugs and much Love.

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Oh Inger. There are times where I wish you lived near by so I could come over and have a cup of coffee with you and just sit. This is one of them. I'd even bring by the tractor and blade your driveway (or make mike do it LOL) I am trying to catch up reading other peoples blog today, but I am burning the candle at both ends with working in the woods, working on the house before winter, working on writing, and its hard. I could use a good friend like you. Just to sit, and listen to you as you pull out your shoebox of memories...Thank you for doing that and sharing!!! xoxo

    1. thank you for the post i needed good husband of 49 years has been dead now 8months and im learning how to walk in this new world.some days its okay but the void between him and me seems to be growing deeper. everyone says it will get better and I suppose it will but its hard he was my everything.

  28. I'm glad to hear that you are getting things done and finding out what you can do and planning for the future. I've had to reinvent my life a few times too and it's not easy. The past doesn't at all resemble what my life is now. How nice to find the list and see how your goals have been met. Sending you lots of hugs my friend, Diane

  29. Hi Inger - it's good to know your neighbours will help with the flood damage. Your thoughts and ideas for your list are just lovely ... I need to be back to read properly ... I'm glad things are easing down ... you've experienced much. Samson and Faith seem to be content and at peace .. and will comfort you in your moments of sadness ...

    With many thoughts - Hilary


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


Related Posts with Thumbnails