Driving home the other night, I saw a man at the base of an ancient tree. He was on his haunches, his shoulders bowed with grief. In front of him, against the tree, was a white cross. He was planting flowers– spring flowers– at the base of the tree. From the comfort of my car, I watched as he created a shrine to a loved one. The music on the radio conspired with him, and… it was a moving moment.
Third person poignancy.
I have a mini-shrine in my room. Two collages of my mom, some of her tea cups, a thimble. Off to the side of the shelf where they are, is a picture of my mom at the Japanese Tea Garden in SF. She loved that place. But the thing is… this mini shrine… I barely look at it. I didn’t even think of it as a “shrine” until.. well, the other night, when I started thinking about shrines. It could be because it’s been up for so long. It could be because it’s been 20, 21 years.
The hard edges have worn off my grief. It no longer crushes me under its unforgiving weight.
And yet, my shrine still stands. I may change it up tomorrow, or may leave it. But I think I’ll take my boy, and go to the local Japanese Tea Garden….. and let him discover why it was one of her favorite places. I can walk in the peace, meditate…
Well. Lets be honest. I have a 7 year old boy. I can trail behind him, taking deep breaths. Because no matter how hard, life does go on.
And it is ok to enjoy it.