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

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©Katherine Dunn.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The garden awaits those in need, sometimes I see her on that bench

Being able to have a garden is an immense help in my life, a place to be amongst color, texture, seed, dirt, butterflies and hummers. It's a place we painted together, me and Martyn, a creation we enjoy looking at, talking about, and envisioning what to move around like a working collage.

Lately, I have been missing my parents immensely. I think I know some of the things that triggered this, I don't want to share those things publicly, but it took me awhile to figure out why I would have this feeling of loneliness for them, come so hard at this time. I often think of them when I'm in the garden, they would have loved it here. Two old teak garden benches came from their Minneapolis home, and when they moved at some point, they gave the two benches to me and Martyn. My parents jokingly told me that we had to name one of the benches, "Bob" and the other one, "Kelly". When they come over and visit, we always laughed about that, because we never knew if we were sitting on Bob or Kelly since the benches were similar.

Sometimes when I sit and have coffee by myself now midday, in the garden, I look towards the other empty bench-but I can see my mother sitting on it, in one of her hats. I had so many talks with my mom on those benches, in her garden. A lot of those talks I would cry or share some issue I was having at the time. And often, we just sat enjoying the birds and flowers, or laughing about something. When I lived in Minneapolis, I was single and freelancing as an illustrator, my life was forming itself as I entered my late thirties into forty. I would usually have coffee mid morning with my mom. I remember one person telling me that I needed to quit doing that so much, that that was why I had not met anyone, I was relying on my parents too much emotionally. I am glad I ignored them. I am glad I spent so much time with my mom, and my dad.

My life and what I am doing with it, I believe, show I live my life in the present tense, but I am not ashamed to say I still miss my mother, and father. And some days, I feel really lonely without my mom to talk to, I feel like I will never feel exactly safe again, or understood again. It's a different kind of understanding from her than from my husband or anyone else, even my closest friends. I'm blessed I had a relationship with my mother that left such a void.

The idea one is not living in the present if they miss a dead parent, friend, or pet...is rubbish. Death is part of life. Dead people and creatures don't leave us, but they live us as living bodies. Being sad they are gone...is not throwing away the present, it is not avoiding the reality of death-it is simply living with an open heart. I know people that get stuck, they can't 'move on' after a pet dies, or parent/person. I understand how that can happen. To say that person should 'move on' and live in the present, is unfair and arrogant. Nobody knows the make-up of another's heart, mind or soul. If a person simply can't get another dog after losing their old dog, that has nothing to do with not living in the present. It simply means a new dog might bring more pain than joy. That is their heart work to live with, not anyone else's.

The blind one-eyed wonder must sense the peonies
Big Tony's grave amongst the foxglove