When The Circle Is Broken
I don't remember when I started making wreaths for friends homes and the graves of family members. Certainly, some time ago. A longstanding friend lost her husband this year. He had gone from physically fit with regular sports activities to sitting in a recliner staring blankly into space. Dementia. Early onset. Her living room was full of gifts for her family, but she hadn't decorated her house. As she told me, "Who will be here to see it?" and now she's starting to notice that her family is moving away and involved in their own lives. One grandchild is at Oxford. Another in Vermont.
I'm glad we did this today, because it's supposed to grow bitterly cold as soon as Thursday. My friend asked for a John Deere "Gator" ride out to the grave. It's up on a hill and far from the road. She had twisted her ankle the last time she went out there. I drove and walked the hill behind them. They were talking during the ride, and my friend learned that Pat was also from New York. Earlier, in the Visitor's Center, my friend ...solemnly turned to me and said, "I want apples on my wreath because of New York. The Big Apple." I told her that if she pre-deceased me, it would be done. I told Pat this story when they were getting out of the Gator, and she laughed and said, "She really believes in being pre-prepared, doesn't she?"
We both talked to her husband while we were standing there. I had cut some non-invasive dwarft nandina fronds from the shrub at their home, and while we were talking I was tucking these in. They had gone a rosy copper and matched everything perfectly.
My friend noticed the figures and said, "Oh! There are cherubs in there," and I told her "yes," for the two of them. She said, "Look, Honey. Just like when we first met. Naked all of the time."
I looked across to where her parents are buried. I glanced to the right where my parents are. I was thinking about how I used to take my parents to the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge, Maryland to see the geese (and snow geese) migrating from Canada. They would stop there for a few days on their Southern migration path and had done so for a long time. Now? They are in that cemetery and all over the D.C. area, including golf courses. Anywhere there are large swaths of grass.
Oddly, I didn't see one goose that day, and normally there are swarms of them.
The next wreath was for a family I've known since diapers. The husband was the chief elder in the church. The wife was my primary sunday school superintendent. Their daughter was a dear friend (she died last year) and their son is my attorney. The wreath is for him, and we go out to a civil war cemetery where his family is buried and take pictures, then he walks around and shows me all of his clients that have died in the past year. That sounds like a queer thing to do, but some of the stories are over the top, as life can be.
This was a larger wreath, so more to fill in. I had a bag of pine cones, and I admit I used liquid glitter eye shadow to fix them up on the tips. I also had cut and dried my hydrangeas, and I shoved one in the wreath for filler. It worked out fine.
This will probably go out to the cemetery tomorrow. Also tomorrow--I need to finally get to me and make the wreath for my front door. It was my mother that started with wreaths. The tradition continues.