#178 – Bunny’s Last Christmas?

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This picture is my 93 year-old cousin Bunny with her son, John.  You might have guessed it was taken on Christmas Day.  I’ve written about Bunny before. She is a dear person who has reached a point in her life that none of us ever want to see—a vast netherland with no beginning and no end.  It is the Land of Dementia and its population is growing with each passing day.

Bunny seems incapable of retaining recent memory yet she remembers the past very well. I always try to lead her to that land she remembers. It is populated with her parents and my grandparents along with numerous souls from the town of Norton, Massachusetts.  My connection to the town is garbled in her mind.  I did live there in my youth but Bunny was in her early thirties and long gone by that time.  But she talks to me as a contemporary and I do the best I can to sustain the memory.  It always seemed to bring her some joy to talk about “good old Norton.”

Today, however, was markedly different. I couldn’t lead her anywhere.  For the first time she failed to recognize me.  “You look very familiar,” she said.  “It’s your cousin, Alice.” I replied. She nodded but I wasn’t sure the information conveyed very well.  Her usual enthusiasm at seeing my dog Tango was also absent. We attempted a conversation about the recent Christmas celebration but she couldn’t recall it.   Then I told her that her youngest son would arrive tomorrow and that his children—now adults—would be bringing their newborns. That piqued her interest.  “A new generation?” she asked.  “Yes,” I said, “a whole new generation.”

For just a moment the Bunny of old emerged from the gripping fog of her dementia.  Her eyes got bright and ever so sweetly she simply said, “Wow.” ❧

Image #177 – Ghosts of Christmas Past

Alice and Bob - Christmas 1995

Alice and Bob – Christmas 1995

As we age Christmas becomes more and more about Christmas past.  It’s inevitable. Even as we enjoy the love and company of family and friends in the present day our thoughts seem to drift backward in time. Memories–so many memories–abound in the ornaments on the tree, the special clothes that come out of the closets and drawers, the feasts we prepare in our kitchens and the presents we place under a tree. Even if we are fully rooted in the here-and-now the past comes a’calling.  And it’s not a bad thing.  After all, those happy memories are the stuff from which love is made.

This picture is nearly twenty years old and is one of the happiest Christmas’ I can recall. My late husband, Robert, had survived a series of devastating illnesses that year (1995).  Just three months before, on Labor Day, the doctors thought he would be gone in less than two weeks.  But he pulled through and we would have another five Christmas celebrations together.  Each one is dear to me and made this Christmas all the better because of the happy memories.  ❧

Dew on spider web

Dew on web2.2 (1)

Dew drops on spider web

Like a vast number of Americans I have traveled “home for the holidays.”  Last Wednesday I packed up the dog and cat, a few clothes and the usual vast array of tech items (cameras, computers, etc.) and set off for Sarasota, Florida where I will stay for at least three weeks.  It is a bit strange to be back here after six months in North Carolina. The urban nature of this ever-growing Gulf Coast city is overwhelming as is the vast wealth that is conspicuously on display.  It is offset by the warmth and love of family and friends but is, nevertheless, a reminder of why I have made the decision to live full-time in Carolina for a while.

My images for the next couple of weeks will be a hodgepodge of old and new.  I discovered an extensive file of old photos on the laptop and will pull some from that source. The above is an example. This is some of my first serious macro work.  I’m not sure of the date but I think it is around 2006. I had just gotten a Canon 60mm macro lens and went to one of my favorite haunts, Carlton Preserve, early in the morning. The dew had settled on the hundreds of spider webs that littered the trees and shrubs, even on the grass. This is a photo of the dew drops on a web. ❧

Image #175 – Hearty Mushrooms

Image #175

Mushrooms are generally thought of as delicate and fleshy, two traits that do not seem to suggest a wintery existence. But these two little fellows have poked their heads up through the stones near the koi pond in my neighbor’s yard. The taller of the two is about the same length as my house key, or about two inches. We have had cold weather here, with temperatures in the teens for consecutive nights. But these troopers seem to relish it.  Similarly the lichen and many of the mosses have pushed forth with tremendous growth during these early weeks of winter.

Sorry I can’t provide an identification at this time.  Perhaps a reader can contribute that information. ❧

Image #174 – Toulouse gosling

Toulouse goose gosling June 2010

Toulouse goose gosling
June 2010

Here’s another shot from  my encounter with friend Mary’s Toulouse Geese. This gosling is being held be Mary. Don’t let the shyness fool you. They arrive hard-wired to take a bite of you.  In fact, this one was probably about to take a bit of Mary’s hand. 🙂  ❧

Image #173 – Grieving Geese

Toulouse goose (gosling)

Toulouse goose (gosling) – June 2010

My friend Mary is mourning the loss of her male Toulouse Goose. His name was Doodle and he was twelve.  Three and a half years ago he fathered several goslings and I was fortunate enough to get their pictures.  Doodle is survived by a mate and two daughters who are greatly grieving his loss.  Mary wrote on Facebook,

After 12 good years of life he has passed over the Rainbow Bridge. If dogs and cats can go over, why not a much loved goose. His much younger mate and their two daughters are very lonely without him. If anyone has or knows of anyone within 100 miles of Sarasota, Fl who has geese please put me in contact with them. Many thanks.

The new male has big wings to fill. Doodle was an excellent protector and, of course, had been with his ladies for many years. Change is hard for all of us mammals.  I certainly wish the survivors well.  ❧