Peter’s Meadow

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(In memory of Peter 7/10/20)

 

 

I hardly knew you.

 

We always met at

the meadow,

the one alive in

your imagination.

Last fall you told me

how beautiful

it would look

when wildflowers bloomed.

 

I saw swaying grasses.

 

Tod was busy leveling

the earth, smoothing

her for re- creation

with a machine

that puffed like

a dragon.

 

When he mowed down

the sumac I winced.

So much winter forage

for deer and birds

no longer a gift.

I missed the

blushing wine berries,

fading ochre leaves.

.

But we agreed on

everything else.

 

Like you,

I too was conjuring

up a wildflower spring.

 

The soil was rich,

swelling

with seed..

I knew nature

held other surprises,

for you had created a “field”

of possibility, allowing Her

to take the lead..

 

And sure enough,

after the snow disappeared

Dandelions sprang up

splashing the earth

in gold as wild bees

gathered for the feast.

I picked a few tart leaves

for my salads.

 

When the

Indian Paintbrush

flooded the meadow

in lemon, bittersweet

orange, and red,

I met you

on the road.

“Aren’t they magnificent?”

You asked me,

blue eyes intent.

Your face lit up

when I agreed.

 

Soon after,

you were gone,

flying on the wings

of dandelion puffs.

 

Seeding the future.

 

I wondered where

you might land.

Just in case you are

sailing these skies

I keep watch for you.

 

I note the abundance

of bright eyed daisies.

Black eyed susans

burst forth in the sun.

Pungent yarrow is peppered

by fuchsia pink.

 

Each day

when I walk by

I feel that some part of you

lives on,

watching over

the Meadow

you brought to life.

 

Working notes:  Reflecting on the bridges that were crossed at this gathering.

This piece of prose was written for a memorial service that was held at 8 AM in the morning outdoors at my neighbor’s house. Just a few of us gathered less than three weeks after Peter’s death and this event, which also functioned as a bridge into the future for some of us, will stand out in my mind as the most peaceful memorial service I have ever attended. Surrounded by fruit trees, astonishing mountain views, extensive gardens and glorious fields we acknowledged the loss of a kind man that I barely knew, although I am becoming close friends with his widow. By attending this gathering I crossed a bridge that freed me from the past – a blessing I could never have expected and one that closes a circle for me while allowing me to cross yet another bridge into the future…

For so many years I was close friends with the former owners of this spectacular piece of property, walking through their woods, visiting the pond, soaking in the beauty of the flowers… I loved those two. He was a woodsman and a hunter, who loved trees and the animals he killed –  forever an enigma – I still respected him. She was a wealthy Victorian Matriarch who expected others to serve her and we did, gladly. When she chose another woman as her new friend – one I introduced to her – the two turned their backs on me – I became the “expendable” friend – this, after 10 years of friendship. Devastated, and unable to deal with the anguish, I let go… all that was left was a passionflower mourning…A year later, (and a number of other times thereafter) I attempted to re-kindle a little of what had been lost, but she would have none of it. When he died on a cold winter solstice night, the antlers he gave me fell off the mantlepiece. She slipped away a few years later but not before raping her land, butchering a whole forest for even more money. An atrocity committed against the earth that had nurtured her for so many years…

For Betsey this gathering created a bridge into a future she is ready to inhabit. Peter’s dying was protracted and she was able to stay emotionally present for the entire process. “Peter died just the way he wanted to” she told me a few hours after his death. As a result of his readiness to let go (an attitude I frankly envied), and her ability to be emotionally present for him throughout his dying allowed both of them to move into new lives.

At the gathering I spoke of how nature demonstrates that there is no death that is separated from new life – the process is an endless round. Peter’s Meadow was a perfect example – just last year the old house had burned down giving Peter the opportunity to dream and eventually co – create a beautiful wild meadow which is presently full of summer flowers.

When someone referred to the richness of the meadow I exclaimed “Life is bursting out of every “dead” decaying tree stump; there is no death – life and death are one” using my favorite fallen tree replete with its entire ecosystem as another example.

The second I spoke these words I felt the truth of what I had said in my body; specifically in my lower belly. It was only a momentary spark or flash but it was definitely a physical sensation.  Another bridge is being forged…

I am blessed to be forging a new friendship with a person on land that I love. I am welcomed, appreciated for my compassion and insight, my ability to see what others cannot. I can be who I am with Betsey. Every conversation I have with her leaves me gratified because I am seen and heard. I don’t have to get stuck in projection because she communicates her feelings and her understanding to me directly through her words and through her body. There is no room for projection or doubt in this kind of exchange. It should come as no surprise to the reader that Betsey has a close relationship with animals, especially her dogs. Dogs are our closest animal familiars tuned to frequency of intimacy that is true astounding.

 

 

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