Georgia’s Hands

I want all the people I love to be healthy and protected and to stay with me forever.

Because life is about the people. The people I (we) love.

Tonight is achy, like old bones. It’s tinged with a kind of sadness that balls up in the back of my throat until the corners of my eyes sting. It’s a bad-news-just-received night with a full, blue moon on the horizon.

As an antidote, my mind sifts gently through all the sweet, majestic experiences I’ve just had on a trip to New Mexico, landing on one in particular: when my friends and I hiked to the top of Chimney Rock near Georgia O’Keeffe’s home at Ghost Ranch. Along the sunny trail, I periodically stopped to study splotchy, lime-green lichen on the stone wall, spiky pom pom plants and off-white crystals nestled in caramel-colored dust, and to smell the fragrant juniper berries. I’m soothed by the thought of Georgia’s steady, weathered hands picking up intriguing objects like these to study closer on one of her many desert walks.

My admiration for her has only multiplied after seeing this special place and the paintings she made to capture it. Her artwork’s themes of life and death especially resonate with me. She has a way of capturing the continuous, spiritual thread; how the two are inseparable. And she seems to accept this easefully – perhaps even with a spirit of celebration and reverie! Witnessing New Mexico through Georgia’s eyes and hands – a framed image of bleached bones crested with a blooming, white rose, for example – have offered me yet another touchstone along this path of learning.

Similarly, but in a less enjoyable manner, the achy feeling I have tonight is also a touchstone…a reminder of impermanence, of preciousness, and of the most humbling duty we have to live our lives meaningfully.

Before bed, as the big moon rises, I’ll picture Georgia’s hands cradling stones and bones and wondrous, desert treasures with loving curiosity. And as my eyes grow heavy with sleep, I’ll watch her traipse down the dusty trail towards the mesa on the horizon, pockets full of ideas for her next great creation.

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