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incense & runner beans

By 9:06 PM , , , , , , ,

This morning I said a little prayer in remembrance of my mother, who passed 21 years ago today.

I can't believe that I've now lived without my mother longer than I have with her. It seems like it happened in a flash, even though it's an entire lifetime for those wanting to become old enough to drink.

I wondered what we would say to each other if she were here today. So much has happened in this world without her.  In 1989, everything I owned came from my parents. Gas was less than a dollar a gallon, nobody had a cell phone number and the internet was yet a blessing or a curse. Now I own property, the world is shrinking, everybody's always accessible but constantly disconnected. I think we'd have to get to know each other all over again. I'm certainly not who I was 21 years ago. In a way, I may have involuntarily left her behind somewhere along the way.

This made me think of the Urashima Taro folk tale, wherein a young man visits an underwater palace and defies the passage of time only to return to a world that he no longer recognizes.

For the tail end of Bibi's life, I was convinced that she was the reincarnation of my mother. Yup, my German Shepherd mutt. She limped in the same leg and she always came and sat with me when I played piano like my mother used to. Every now and then I'd see the same protective-yet-judgmental expression in Bibi's eyes that my mother would use in the rare occasion she chose to communicate silently. It may be a simple projection but you definitely don't forget a look like that.

It's been a practical memorial this year. Traditionally, I buy a plant for my garden to honor each passing year. But this year I chose not to, as I'm rethinking a new garden, as well as having acquired one too many plants on non-memorial days.

I lit one incense for Bibi (July 2009) and another for Gert (July 2005) and said a little greeting to both.

As I stared at the fiery red tips of the three sticks, I noticed next to it the latest project given to me by Topher when I visited her studio last Friday. It's designing a planter for the starter heritage beans from Rancho Gordo XOXOC Project.
I hadn't even noticed that there were exactly three green shoots that had grown several inches since last Friday. The spindly stems teetering in the dirt echoed the chartreuse incense standing up in its own ashes. I guess I was right not to get a plant, since these beautiful little bean stalks found their way into my home this summer.

I struck the singing bell three times to let Bibi, Gert and mama each know that I'm sending some runner beans their way. xoxo

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  1. Yes, it's been twenty one years since then.
    I'm sure she is resting in peace, and watching you with love.