I was searching among some little used jewelry and found a pair of earrings that needed repair. Silver and shell transport me back in time and I remember Margaret’s curly red hair, ready smile and infectious laughter.
Margaret was my Scout leader who came to her position by the pleading of her nieces when their leader resigned. She became a greater part of my story through the years of adolescence, teens then young adult as she became friend and mentor. She always seemed lively and carefree although the facts I didn’t know probably told a different story of life; she had a serenity that carried her through. I thought of her as young, like a youthful aunt or older sister and was dumbfounded to find her older than my mother!
I stared into the cool shell colors and remembered our last time together. I stood by her hospital bed, held her hand and spoke to her in the coma of her cancer stricken body of kindness, love and gratitude and her leaving, too young. Leaving me too young. I looked back amazed at my twenty-something self’s composure, grace and peace.
I’ve had the earrings repaired and I will wear them again and enjoy the small gift. The real gift, the great legacy of kindness and joy, of friendship and time spent together, had lived large in my memories through the years. And I always smile in gratitude.
Do you ever wonder what legacy you are building?
It’s early and I feel alert and refreshed – just back from a carefree run down the quiet street of Brownstones under magnificent trees full of emerging bloom. I am staying in a magnificent house on this street and one of the house dogs, a magnificent Bouvier, is running with me. Everything seems magnificent in this dream of mine and then I wake in our cottage on the edge of a wood where goats graze on the nearby hills and horses in winter blankets stand across the street. Dreams are funny things and this one has left me feeling quite exhilarated. I’ll take that as a gift!
It is below freezing and the grey dawn makes me impatient now for spring. I feel a little cheated this winter here of mostly dull. No deep snows enthuse my winter project list. I wait for the coffee and contemplate winters past and those stories.
I remember a snow adventure when I was brave and brilliant and all of about 11 or 12. Those were the days when schools did not close early much less think of not opening because a little snow was forecast.
At the end of the school day, I gathered my younger sister and another little girl who traveled with us and we waited outside for the transit bus. Buses came and went but there was never enough room for three; so many downtown businesses had closed early. It was very cold waiting in the swirling snow. One might ask why we didn’t go back into the school to wait. Well one, I soon realized that you couldn’t get to the bus stop quickly enough on the slippery sidewalk when a bus would come and two – somehow being at the mercy of The Nuns seemed far worse than standing and waiting and maybe even freezing to death. The drama of an adolescent mind!
And then the flash of brilliance – I decided we would walk to my Grandparents home. I had no idea how far it was, but it had to be walking distance. My parents had grown up in the neighborhood and had walked to the church next to our school; I had heard all their stories of really deep snows…
I’m sure I was counting on the warmth of the old coal stove in the kitchen and cookies at the end of the hike. I’m also sure the little girls protested but I was certain of my plan and off we trudged through our deepening snow and dark through a neighborhood we only knew from the windows of the bus. I still remember the look of great surprise on the face of my Grandmother as she opened the door to us.
I no longer remember the eventual trip home, but I still remember feeling very proud that I had done the right thing and all was well. We were warm and drying and safe from the storm.
Yesterday rain and fog gave way to wind and sun. I wandered out to make an insignificant start on yard cleanup. Pick-up-sticks. On the wind came such a sweet fragrance and took me by surprise. I looked around at bare branches, brown fallen leaves and faded grass and searched my mind for what was teasing me. I had forgotten. Really not surprising, this time of year my favorite garden activity is spent on catalogues and magazines, books and notepads and not rummaging around in small shaded corners. But there against a small wall was the heady fragrance – sweetbox.
Sarcococca hookeriana humilis is the proper name, if I recall correctly. Insignificant bloom tucked down in evergreen leaves giving off its prayer of sweet smelling fragrance.
That’s how I think of people of prayer, off in quiet, almost hidden places – at least in soul – giving of themselves in a sweet fragrance to God on behalf of others. And unlike me, He is always out and about so He turns and bends and looks for them and inhales deeply. (2 Chron 16:9)