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April 01, 2007



And (o) again. What a beautiful post to usher April in, Beth, sadness and joy interwoven so deeply that it's impossible to pull them apart.

I hate to comment on how well grief becomes you, or how its dark scrawl brightens the snowdrop; the light in house which you visited...it seems too private!

Swedish symbolist/realist sculptor Per Hasselberg saw a snowdrop by the Siene and was moved to personify it with a sculpture of a young woman bound about her ribs with a fillet, a last petal on a flower beginning to mature into seed. The most tender feelings of symbolist/realist sculptor in spring in Paris had nowwhere else to go but into the landscape of human form, the smoother skinned the better. But what a lot of work followed that first moment of inspiration before a flower! I hope your snowbell bodes for you a year of productive creativity.


Thank you, Marja-Leena, Natalie: I'm glad if that mixture of emotions came across.

Bill, on the contrary! I'm so grateful for your comment and the story about Per Hasselberg, totally unfamiliar to me! I wouldn't write these things if I didn't want people to react, comment, share their own experience -- and am always mystified when they don't. Perhaps you explain why here; maybe it all seems too private, self-contained, and also already processed and packaged and expressed...?

Beth -- this is beautiful. Thank you.

No, I think it is precisely the processing and packaging you do with your material which makes it available to comment.

Thanks, Pica. And you've seen the garden, so you can put yourself there! Today it's grey and rainy, and the cardinals have been going nuts, calling and calling, and there is a whole flock of redwing blackbirds high in the trees.

Bill - hmm - I guess it depends on the reader, then. Maybe someone else will say something about this. I've noticed that sometimes the more time I spend on a post (not necessarily this one) the fewer comments it receives, regardless of subject matter. I think this is true for some other writers I read, too. Then I wonder -- is it intimidating? too finished? Does it seem like I have everything figured out, because who does? I certainly don't!!

Grief and joy and hope and pain, all colors intermingling, and ultimately, beautiful.


Dear Beth.

Thank you for expressing, through what is happening in your own life, some of what is happening in mine. The unspeakable grief of living, the unfathomable (and, as you say, terrible relentless) beauty in the world.

It's a mystery that we can stand it for even an hour, not to mention day after day after day. But stand it we do.

Beth, this is one of those pieces that remind me how reading blogs sometimes gives me a unique apprehension of other consciousnesses around the world, gentle, confused, like-minded, often better than me, but showing me what we have in common, making me feel less alone. The part of others we need to see - well I do anyway - but which in the rush and competitiveness of much daily life we often don't show each other. Thank you.

And, yes, I certainly experience what you describe - when I work hard on expressing something interesting I often get few or no comments. Whereas something trivial will get more and something self-pitying (not that I regret the odd one like that, it's often good to get it out of my system!) will get a lot more. Best not to draw any conclusions from this, but it's hard not to.

it's trillium for me, not snow drops. trillium and spring beauties,the little pale violet flowers that used to cover the space between our parent's lawns.

The best posts leave me with little to say. Sometimes I leave a short note to the effect of "I really liked this"; sometimes (as here) I merely paste an excerpt into my Smorgasblog so others will come and read. I find myself saving my commenting energy for struggling writers, bloggers with too few readers, and others who seem as if they would most benefit from encouragement - a form of triage. (When you read close to 120 blogs, you can't comment on everything!)

MB, Dale - thank you.

Teju - actually, I don't think most people feel this way! Or if they do, they aren't as acutely aware of it. For me, it's not the beauty alone, but the beauty in spite of. It helps me enormously to have even a few fellow emotional travelers.

EMS - well, I understand. I wrote about trillium on May 1 and 10th last year; they kept me company while my mother was dying and were the last bouquet I brought her from the woods. And the spring beauties too - so delicate and fragile, such perfection in each one!

Jean and Dave - thank you both very much for the affirmation. I'm really interested to read what you have to say about comments and commenting; that's helpful and pretty much parallels my own experience - though I only read about half as many blogs as you, Dave!


close to 120 blogs

120, yikes! I'm down to about 15--and only 5 of those with the seriousness they deserve--which has meant some brutal pruning on my part. I do look at about 30 but there's no way I could read them all.

Yeah, but you're working on a PhD. Plus you're married. I'm not even fully employed.

thanks for this. I enjoyed.

Ah, snowdrops...

I picked them as a first bouquet -for- my mother each Spring, from earliest memory. Snowdrops are synonymous with magic in the near woods, for me.

Why oh why didn't I dig some up and bring them to my land when I could? Too many travels, too many years...

I must go now - in spite of the 9" of fresh snow we had last night, the cardinals are singing so sweetly...

Thanks for your evocation,

- roebuck

Oh, Beth...I'm only now getting around to reading this, and it rings as true as a bell. Grief is sudden, sly, and entirely inescapable. It will have its way with you, and at times when you least expect it. This post aches like a broken heart: thank you.

My, this is lovely and powerful, Beth. But you know that.


I don't know with my head precisely what to make of this.

But my heart gets it. Thank you.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.