ON THIS DAY . . .
- . . . in 1883, responding to the criticism that his poetry lacks meter, H.G. Wells declared, "Meters are used for gas, not the outpourings of the human heart."
- . . . in 1904, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), the author and illustrator of such beloved books as The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham was born in Springfield, MA. "Seuss" was his middle name (which was also his mother's maiden name) and he wrote 48 books that have sold more than 200 million copies.
TO SEE TAKES TIME . . .
Last week, I published my first post about the contents of two boxes containing gifts I had given my parents over the last 10-15 years that were given back to me. Pictured above are four books featuring the work of Georgia O'Keeffe that I gave to my mother, mostly because I knew how much she loved flowers.
When I opened the top book, The Poetry of Things, I discovered a certificate with my mother's name on it. I had no idea that for 30 years, she had participated in The Nurses' Health Study, one of the longest running investigations of factors that influence women's health. Married registered nurses who were aged 30-55 in 1976, who live in the 11 most populous states and whose nursing boards agreed to supply the study with their members' names and addressed were enrolled. My mother, a registered nurse, had agreed to participate.
Whenever I look at the certificate, I see a side of my mother I've never seen.
When I opened the front cover of bottom book, One Hundred Flowers, I discovered the special menu I designed for a restaurant where I took my parents to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary and my father's 80th birthday. Paper clipped on the top right was a flower preserved in wax paper from the bouquet I gave my mother that night.
At the bottom of the menu (not seen in the left photograph) are two quotes:
"Love, love, love . . . . that is the soul of genius." -- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
"There is no remedy for love but to love more." -- Henry David Thoreau
I continue to peruse the book and discover this inscription:
"To Mom -- to help your second career bloom. Love, Sharon Christmas 1998"
When I pick up the book (it's huge) to set it on my lap, a green file folder falls from the back. In it are several paintings and pencil sketches of flowers . . . done by my mother:
I knew that in her sixties and early seventies, my mother had begun to paint using water color. But I had never before seen these sketches. She was practicing her new hobby by studying Georgia O'Keeffe, much like I had in my forties, except my medium was oil:
It's been more than a decade since I've tinkered with my oil paints. Perhaps it's time to get out my brushes. Perhaps it's time for one aspect of my second career to bloom.
TODAY'S TRUTH FROM GEORGIA O'KEEFFE . . .
"A flower is relatively small. Everyone has many associations with a flower -- the idea of flowers. You put out your hand to touch the flower -- lean forward to smell it -- maybe touch it with your lips almost without thinking -- or give it to someone to please them. Still, in a way -- nobody sees a flower -- really -- it is so small -- we haven't time -- and to see takes time like to have a friend takes time. "
A flower my mother saw.