When I think about the times, beautiful passages, I have been able to share with my parents. I remember outside dinners on the patio, with the sound of sprinklers jetting quietly and uniformly across the lawn. The trees stand tall, straight, gentle. I look up at them; they are my childhood trees. I played in them, I prayed to them, I thought they were a symbol of surety, peace, strength. And I look back at my parents as we eat dinner, sharing, discussing, laughing, and with sometimes silent spaces… and to the trees again. Still strong; so are we.
Our family begins the meal with prayer. It can be any prayer but I love — that prayer.. Thankful, thankful, thankful. In continuance, it is a quality, a remembrance, a feeling, a demonstrated gratitude I can never get enough of. Thank you, Love divine.
Mom makes beautiful food — fresh, peeled, bubbling tomatoes with basil, sauced over pasta; grilled salmon; light line green squash and darker green green zucchini. Brownies, ice cream, for dessert. And maybe some Good Earth tea. It gets darker, now, and my gentle trees look more formidable with a dimming sky in between vertically upward branches. Majestic; cooling; … and yet all humbling, and in grace.
Days since I have been here at home are filled: with music… often Mom and I listen to Beethoven’s Septet; Schumann; or Bach’s Passion. As we write or read we are filled. Organization and order as we straighten the home; piano playing; literature reading; Mom’s aerobic class. Languages, love of practicing them with Ena and Madame Grundman… and books, books, books.
As I step in my room I am always reminded by Mom’s care in flowers. There are always new flowers in my room. They are yellow roses today, three of them. Sometime there are apricot touched petals, or spiky dahlias, or fuchsias of some sort: And the tiny indigo bursting petite wildflowers!
Oma always has some roses… Or magnolias, floating in a small crystal dessert dish, which is placed on a circular mirror. Opa, Oma, and I sit: the three of us around this breakfast table, with hot tea, talking. Sometimes I read to them, but mostly we talk. About life challenges and their resolvation. The second half of our time is spent in the family room. Oma brings the snow white blanket and covers me up as I take off my shoes and lie down on a deep maroon little couch. And Opa is our maestro. Yesterday it was Gabriel Faure’s (1845-1924) ‘Requiem.’ Such voices… Sometimes it is Schubert, Sibelius; most often we end with Chopin’s Nocturnes.
We are all silent. We close our eyes — and even if they are open —we look not at a thing. We are looking to the quiet spiritual of the music, the intonation of a coming light; the uplifting of ourselves through the listening. When it is finished we are always amazed. And it is time to go.
Privilege time. It’s talks with my dad underneath the umbrella on the patio. He’s got his hat on, reading glasses, and a book under the sun. And sometimes nodding, his head falls forward in gentle sleep. I love the way he holds the book with both hands on his tummy.
It’s the time cleaning up after Mom as she makes WONDERFUL dinners! And emptying the dishwasher. It’s fun to do things that other people hate to do. And she HATES loading the dishwasher!
To cherish, to be in the moment, to smile for each instant, is the best gift I give back. Back in privileged time.
August 1995. After Europe and Leadership Institute!