I was barely home from California when my grandmother’s brief battle with congestive heart failure ended. I heard her voice for the last time on a short call only a few days before she passed.
At 96, she was tired and told us many times that she was ready to go. For her, I feel relief; but for myself, I am blinded by grief. I don’t think I’ll ever see the world in quite the same way as I did before November 30, 2012. I hope that her presence in my life has made me somehow wiser.
Her story is an interesting one. It is no wonder I have such a rich interest in older people’s stories when I enjoyed so many of her tales of life in Waubaushene and Toronto from the 1920’s on. I might share a few in the near future about Hallowe’en in the 20’s and childhood in a house heated by a single wood stove… I think a 2013 project to formally collect them is in order. Hopefully I’ll have access to the pictures again soon.
The cycle of life is never more present to us than when we experience the death of a loved one. That cycle of life was very evident on Alcatraz Island and in the giant Redwood forests on the coast of California. The island is being revitalized by tourism amongst the decay of both prison and civil war buildings. In the Cathedral of Muir Woods, fallen giants feed an explosion of undergrowth where a new beam of sunlight breaks through the canopy to the cool forest floor.
There is so much to share about California that I think both Alcatraz and the Redwoods deserve their own posts and paintings, so that may mean the stories will come in January with the art.
For now, follow the links below to enjoy some of the pictures and feel free to ask any questions in the comments! Alcatraz was amazing and one of the youngest guards to ever work there was signing books the day we came…
To see more photos go to my Flickr page:
The Beach at Half Moon Bay
The warden’s house on Alcatraz Island