The new year is settling in around me, or it may be more the case that I am slowly settling into the embrace of the fledgling year’s ephemeral days. This first month has brought an abundance of warm, almost summery days, and these past weeks have found me savoring more than a few lunch hour tea dates with the sun bathing my shoulders. Still, the frosty mornings nip at me on my early walks; January does not want me forgetting the true nature of her season. Despite the cloak of winter’s quiet, there is an elusive restiveness in the air. How could it not be so, with January disguising herself now and again in summer’s silky robes, only to return with an icy mantle in the darkness of night? These sweet days and chilling nights evoke images of multifarious complexity, where I am at once pulled toward demure passivity and strident calls for change. The waxing and waning, the fluidity of the season’s energy, leaves me pensive and yearning. Change is in the air, yet somewhere in my being is a longing for a sense of continuity.
Walk with me into my kitchen where the sun’s final rays cast a cool glow upon the gleaming surfaces. Linger as the shadows dance softly in the shifting light. Upon the topmost countertop sits a vase filled with ferns, red carnations, and crimson roses. The fragrant white lilies that once poised as prima ballerinas in the ensemble are now gone, yet the bouquet remains eerily exquisite despite the passage of many weeks. This vase and its contents speak to me and for me. The flowers and I have joined, it seems, in a mutual agreement to suspend time and certainty. There is a sense of the whirlwind of life being held in abeyance to ponder the coming days, to see where fate and fortitude might lead.
I peer more intently at the velvety roses that speak of love. There is a hidden layer, a deeper story, waiting to unfold. A gentle man from across the sea had marked my holidays with his gift of an exquisite, abundant bouquet. Our cherished friendship, beautifully alive despite the vast ocean between us, holds fast and steady. I touch the delicate curl of a rose’s edge, and through its soft petal, I touch him. There is love, timeless love. These temporal flowers evidence a love that flourished in friendship and in the warm earth of compassion. An unlikely, circumspect meeting sowed the seeds of something more to come. Over vast distance and time, our bond strengthened through penmanship, we came to smile between the lines we had written. In outpourings of angst and small delights, he shared his heart with me, and I embraced the friendship as it grew. Oh, the story that those flowers tell as they watch me in the fading light. They speak of promise, hope, and love. Their rich petals tell me stories, they whisper of fairytales and dreams. And so I leave them as they gently murmur, for the seashells, not too far away, also have their tales.
My home is filled with precious things, simple riches that stun me with their hidden delights. Oh, it is these priceless bits that move me, that transport me in space and time. And so I invite you to walk with me yet again, this time through the rosy warmth of my bedroom and into the gentle light of the bath. It is here, in my bath, that some of my sweetest treasures wait. As with the flowers in the kitchen, the seashells in my bath tell their stories; we, too, have a silent understanding of memories shared and held. The sea’s treasures await me in their glass bowls and crystal vases, peering at me through lifetimes of their own. With quiet unanimity, the seashells and I acknowledge that a simple gaze offers transport to balmy turquoise waters, chilly Irish seas, and vast Pacific coastlines. I finger the tiny shells delicately littered atop candles. I smile at these remnants of early morning journeys with treasured sister-friends, markers of renewed daring to tread into unknown lands. A tall, elegant vase is filled with intricate shells and vibrant sea glass; I am swept back to the Bahamas and memories of coming to know the woman I had become. My gaze lingers upon the fragile Santa Barbara sand dollars that rest lightly upon the oddly sturdy shells I pulled from Irish seas. I am flooded with the memories of the two worlds I had known; though far apart and starkly different, they were united by love, learning, and faith. A delicate orb contains a cascade of newly discovered shells. Shimmering abalone bits, polished by the Pacific, glimmer at me; they speak of new adventures, of a willing spirit, and of a loving heart. My eyes slowly move to caress the wider array of simple containers that hold cherished places in my world; each one offers a unique accumulation of pieces of life, memories, and love. Oh, my treasures surely do have tales to tell, and they whisper sweetly to me as the soft, golden light of day disappears. In the gentle shadows I smile and muse, for there is eternity here in this moment, eternity sweeping her arms about me.
So to those roses in the kitchen, and the seashells in the bath, I bow my head. There is incomparable love within the riches of my treasure trove, within the memories they hold for my spirit and soul. No wealth of platinum or diamonds, to be sure, but I’ll take the roses in my kitchen and the seashells in my bath–anytime.