On a Still Afternoon
Krystyna sat quietly...
On a warm and still August afternoon Krystyna slowly perused the pages of a heavy leather-bound book and wondered why she found 19th century botanical drawings so beautifully compelling.
Of course she found quite a few things compelling … wild, windy, and stormy days, clean architectural lines, strong coffee and dark chocolate, very good and very long books, blackberries and ripe pears with a good cheese, a cappella music with its intricate and multi-layered harmonies, libraries - big or small – old or new - but mostly old, any design from jewelry to public buildings that incorporated pentagons – hexagons - octagons, blue and white Polish pottery, silver drachmae - feta in olive oil – poetry - the Parthenon - Souvlaki – tiny hillside chapels - jewel toned islands sprinkled across emerald and cobalt seas …… well, everything Greek I suppose.
The cherished, and much handled, leather bound book of botanical sketches from the 1800’s, replete with flowers, vines, berries, had belonged to her mother, Madeleine, beloved of memory. Her mother had been gone for many years, almost thirty years. Madeleine, died just short of her fiftieth birthday; she would have turned fifty on December 26th that year. The month of December remained shrouded in sorrow for many years.
Mercifully, she lived long enough to meet and fall in love with her three grand-children, strong and healthy and loud baby boys, though they quieted quickly when she held them, caressed them.
The time allotted had not been nearly long enough, could never have been long enough, but Krystyna was grateful for the five years when her son’s and her mother’s lives had overlapped. Her sons became more inquisitive, discovered the joys of language, grew taller and stronger, as her mother weakened, grew smaller, quieter.
And then Madeleine was gone, forever, and Krystyna with three small boys in her arms was scarcely twenty-five.
This warm and still August. Kyrstyna had just turned fifty and her three sons were married and starting families of their own; grand-children would soon follow. Pensively, she combed through the list of things she found beautiful and compelling, had found beautiful and compelling for as long as she could remember. Try as hard as she might, she could not remember when or how she fell in love with wild and windy storms or wild and tangled forests. She had always loved them, as far back as she could remember.
The crack of thunder had never frightened Kystyna, even though she lived with her maternal grandmother for three years, a grandmother who at the slightest hint of a storm ran around the house unplugging every appliance, who forbade everyone, child and adult alike, to get a drink of water.
Naturally, Grandmother preferred they not be electrocuted in her house and as everyone with a lick of sense at all knew, lightning could and did streak through window panes and kill any soul foolish enough to be holding a cup of water at the time.
Grandmother was fearful and very anxious all the time; perhaps Krystyna made friends with storms and forests and wildness as a way to push back the fear her grandmother so liberally and frequently dispensed.
With no thought or intention of inoculating her sons against fear, but simply wanting to share her joy, Krystyna always opened the front door wide when a storm blew through and sitting cross-legged on the floor, she shared her deep love for the wild wind and rain with her children.
The four of them reveled in the power and exhilaration of all storms. They probably still do. Perhaps the grand-children will as well....
Poems, Paintings, and Photographs.
- Dressing the Bones - A Quiet Poem
A quiet, thoughtful poem anout writing poems.
- Jousting with Dragons ~~ A Poem
We all live in several communities - family, school, work, and play, but we are all also alone, isolated, often are islands in a vast ocean. We need connection, comfort, care.
- Near Side in Shadow: A Poem About Love and Loss
Young lovers driving down a coastal highway stop to test the waters just before dusk, completely unaware that their love and strength are about to be tested by the great power and
Wandering in the Forest Primeval.
More by this Author
Primary Historical resources are extremely useful, but they can be difficult to access. So most of us need to rely on Secondary Sources. The following is a detailed list of scholarly books which is relevant to...
Pondering what the German people knew at the time about the Nazi goals and activities can lead to a number of questions which are relevant for us today.
Americans often assume that most German civilians knew next to nothing about Hitlers Final Solution and were unaware that the SS controlled and administered the concentration camp system. While the death camps were...