Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mothers, a pug and lilacs in the wind

This past weekend was so hot - Martyn gallantly tilled the veggie bed for me, but I only got the tomatoes in - I'm such a wuss in the heat.

But I was able to work in the shade and plant the three new roses in honor of my mother, each one has some of her ashes. She and my father loved roses and when I was growing up in Minnesota, they bravely planted them wherever we lived, which meant having to tip them into the compost and straw for winter survival.

I also placed some of her ashes with the pug who rests now under the lilacs. I like that I can go there and know his little pug body is just as I left it, I can remember it that way. Someone sent me some little prayer flags and I placed tokens n his grave. I think my mother might be bemused that she is placed in with an elderly one eyed pug but she loved him and used to sing "Where have you been Billy Boy, Billy Boy" to him.

Burial of ashes is for the living, I think. It helps us connect one more dot so we begin to reach a place of acceptance that a person we loved in body is now dust, and is physically gone. It is the beginning of our new relationship with that person.

My mom and I had a long standing game on Mother's Day about lilacs. In Minneapolis, there were lilacs everywhere, in parks, roadsides and neighbor's yards. I never had any lilac shrubs in all of the houses I lived in as an adult, so I would start plotting where I'd find my Mother Day lilacs - to steal- and give to her. She always said I'd get arrested some day, but I never did.

So now she has the graceful bows of the old lilacs here at Apifera, dark purple, light lilac, pink and white, all bending over her with the wind blowing wafts of scent around her memory. Looking north, one can see Old Matilda grazing, a mother of many. My mother's middle name was Matilda, something I didn't take lightly when the old donkey arrived here a couple of years ago.

I can hear my mother saying, "The old donkey has my name?" and laughing. She was raised on farm but I don't think naming your animals after loved ones was necessarily of fashion.

She is missed - as I know many mothers are today. But she is remembered for so many things by so many. When she died on April 4th, I did have moments where I thought I'd never be joyful again, I had never had a world without my mother, what could it possibly be like, I thought. It felt unsightly to me.

But here I am one of her two greatest legacies, and I am joyful about many things one month later. One is that I am independent and have an ability to inspire myself into new territories to imagine and grow and enjoy the gifts around me. One of those gifts is life itself, which she gave me.


kerin rose said...

a lovely and poetic post!..." one of the gifts she gave me was life itself"...yes!
happy mothers day!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful remembrances.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~