7.13.18 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Sometimes I think it must have been much easier to live and die at the time of our ancestors, the Vikings. When they buried their relatives, they also buried many objects together with the body. This was to be sure that the dead would not miss anything in their new environment. It also an assurance for the family members who remained that they would not become obsessed with spirits of the dead and constantly be reminded of them because their possessions were still scattered all over the tent or mud hut. Very clever.
~ Margareta Magnusson
(The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself & Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter)

7.13.18 ~ Eastern Point
my camera decided to go Impressionistic for this distant cormorant

You might guess from my recent choice of reading material that I’m still struggling with the objects and possessions I inherited from our ancestors. Things started piling up around 2008. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years! I have managed to dispose of a lot of stuff but cannot rest on my laurels. What’s left is stacked halfway to the ceiling in a corner of what is supposed to be the genealogy/guest room. The corner takes up almost half the room.

there are three cormorants in this picture,
which I didn’t realize until I saw the picture enlarged on the laptop

Trouble is, life (births, illnesses, travels, weddings, visitors, deaths) keeps happening and I need a good chunk of uninterrupted time to roll up my sleeves and dig in. Now that there is a lull in the stream of summer activities I am annoyed by the droning of the air conditioners. But I since learning about the autism I am aware now that I am much more sensitive to noise than neurotypical people, so, I will wait patiently for some cool, dry, quiet weather to return.

7.12.18 ~ Grandmother Elm ~ Stonington, Connecticut

We enjoy going to estate sales. We rarely buy anything but a few days ago we found a large file cabinet in excellent shape at a great price. It is now in the genealogy/guest room waiting for me to make use of it. After my grandmother died my grandfather offered us anything we wanted in the house. I chose my grandmother’s mahogany secretary which I still have and treasure. Grandfather said he didn’t want us grandchildren to be burdened with all the stuff. I don’t want my children to be burdened either.

I’m also sad about the changes at my beloved beach. The city has installed a gull repellent system. Every three minutes a recording of a gull in distress blares out from the loudspeakers. There are maybe two or three fearless gulls left on the roof of the beach house. All the laughing gulls are gone, all the different kinds of gulls are gone. I suppose I will never see my friend with the mangled foot again. It’s all too much for me to bear and I’ve been reduced to tears more than once this summer.

I visited my elm tree, Grandmother Elm. I cannot believe it’s been 5 years since I have gone! I used to visit all the time when Tim’s brother was living with us, the year he died here of cancer. Now she has small stems and branches growing out at the base of her trunk, covered with leaves. When I read The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben I believe he said this was a sign of distress. No other tree in the cemetery was like this. Perhaps she is suffering, too. Still, her wordless wisdom comforted me.

8 thoughts on “comfort”

  1. Hi Barbara, Thanks for this. Very sorry to hear about the gull repellent. Does it repel people too?

    1. Hi Susan! On the way down to the beach tonight I told Tim I was feeling the same sadness I used to feel going up to my dad’s a few years ago, when all the hemlock trees were dying. But, I have decided to shift my focus. I left my camera at home. We already gave up suppers at the beach last summer. I need more exercise than I’ve been getting so this evening I walked three laps around the parking lot (25 minutes). I listened to the waves lapping the sand and the rocks. Watched the sailboats come up the river. I think this will be my new summer routine…

  2. How sad you don’t have gulls on the beach any longer…I hope your ‘friend’ is still walking on another, more peaceful beach. Wishing you a wonderful continuation of the summer – greetings from Stockholm.

    1. Me, too. And thank you, Tiny. I hope the weather in Stockholm gets a bit cooler for you before you have to leave, but I’m glad you’re having a good time with your family and friends in spite of the unusual heat and lack of air conditioning. 🙂

  3. I am so sorry to hear about the gull repellent system. I would be sad, too. But since I’m working backwards, I saw in your next post that you’ve seen your gull friend so that’s good news. 🙂 I love the quote you began with and think I might need to read the book.

    1. Thanks, Robin. I’m still missing the variety of gulls at the beach but it was heartening to see my friend, even so briefly. I loved “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning.” It was interesting seeing how someone from a different culture dealt with the process, and several times at different ages, with different perspectives, over the course of her life. Now I need to stop reading about it and start tackling the pile again. 🙂

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