The answer was right in front of me, but it took a while to come into focus. My mother passed away 12 years ago, on August 27, 2010. The anniversary of her death was coming again, and I was looking for a way to honor her. Or to connect with her, you might say. Her wishes were that her remains be scattered in the St. Croix River, almost 6 hours away from here. And we honored those wishes. But since then, I have struggled to come up with a place to go when I'm missing her.
Over the years I have tried a few different things. More than once, when opportunity presented, I made the drive to the St. Croix and stood on the bridge we scattered her ashes from. I talked to her, took pictures. Cried. I've driven through the little town she lived in during the last decade or so of her life. Considered finding a church and a memorial service. Taken walks in nature, of course. Some years I just sat down with a photo book we made for her 70th birthday and paged through memory lane.
Something struck me as we walked the flower farm. There were sunflowers in all stages of life. Barely a bud, ready to bloom, mid-bloom flower heads, wide open blooms bursting in all their glory, blooms missing a few petals, some missing seeds that have already been feeding the birds, drooping flowers, faded blooms in every fashion, some laying finished on the ground. All of these stages with their own beauty. Their own stories. Their own past, present, and future.
A nature lover, bird watcher, wildlife fan, amateur photographer, humane gardener, traveler, and singer of songs. I've been keeping closer to home these days, and truly discovering the beauty that lies in TheParkNextDoor.