“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


tears and paint and the morning light

i bought paint yesterday, with autumn outside and thoughts of maggie the cat everywhere, and the remembrance of painting a wall after my father's death, the painting and repainting - I've mentioned it before, the search for the perfect color that would ease my grief.  I know now it was the act of painting, of watching the change from white to aqua to pale green to taupe, that was the easing, the meditation of painting, the not thinking, just doing, moving the brush or roller across the space, the slowing of the break in my heart, the stitching together those torn pieces of my soul.

so i bought paint yesterday, a couple of gallons of changing-your-life - that's what i call any paint i buy - and i stood in line with autumn visible outside the windows and maggie in my heart and i held the tears until i was in the jeep and then sat and cried.  i've known from the beginning autumn would be hard, knew it would bring thoughts of her closer than usual; the cold evenings would bring her in and she would find my lap or the fire or an empty chair and we would sit together, a couple of old friends, and we would ignore that this was probably the last autumn we had together.  autumn reminds me of her, though she, like me, was much a summer baby, reveling in the summer nights - autumn memories of she & i in the jeep every saturday, headed to and from the vet's, watching a line of crepe myrtles go from flowers to green to fiery red candlesticks; i called them maggie's trees. we watched them every weekend for 2 years, but always their fall finery stuck in my head, maggie watching them fly past as we headed home.

i don't like autumn. it is my least favorite season, no secret if you've been here before.  it is beautiful - i have learned to love its colors, even if only a bit - but it is sad and remindful of the end of things, the end is coming, it says, and it offers gifts of leaves and nuts and red berries to ease that goodbye, but the end is coming.  the nights are longer and we gather together to celebrate each other and families and it always feels like goodbyes for me, and i cannot wait for new year's or winter, a beginning, a definite end. 

so i bought paint yesterday and then headed for my mother's house and homemade soup.  she had dreamed of my father; she was in a crowded place, people coming and going, and she heard her name called.  turning around, she saw him standing there, waiting for her, tall and straight and still; his skin and clothes one and the same, seeming to flow together, she said.  they embraced, she reached to caress his cheek, his skin smooth as silk, otherworldly.  suddenly thirsty, she turned to a nearby water fountain, and when she turned back, she awoke.  she was unable to sleep, she said, and got out of bed, found something to eat.  his cheek was so smooth, she told me again.  when i left, i got in my jeep and sat there and cried.

her dream felt like autumn, remindful of the end that is coming, but not yet, not yet, thank you, but i pay attention; she said it was the first time in a dream he'd come specifically to see her, and i am glad he left her with me.  the paint in the cans is a golden honey yellow color and it is too autumny.  i will fix that, i wanted more butter than honey, but i will see it in this morning's light and perhaps change my mind - when my mother described my dream-father i saw him glowing like the morning light.  that was the color i couldn't find all those years ago when i painted and repainted a wall.



  1. this made me cry. i have also been saying goodbyes.

  2. I have a similar color. It brings warmth, and light...always.

  3. Sometimes it's hard to believe how in sync people who don't really know each other can be. I recently wrote a post at "Heartwork" on FB about painting with only white and how I realized that I was white washing, cleaning not only my walls, but my life. It feels like the samething you have written about using the process of painting to heal, sooth, comfort the soul. I hope after my life is clean for a while, I'll start to find my healing color.

    Peace, Love and Paint,

  4. moist eyes while reading this and a small, knowing gasp at the end.

    again, i am with you.

    much love,

  5. yes this time of the year is filled with dreams and the colors that finally come.. very tender.

    tears are good ..that my motto ..be it in a jeep or VW

  6. this brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps. i held my breath after i read your mother's dream.
    for you and for your mom and for me, for thinking forward to that time i cannot imagine.
    change comes in many colors though, and it keeps on coming. morning light sounds like a perfect color for that.

  7. Oh my, I am silent in awe & love & recognition. The soul is constantly dancing with all of these dynamics as we dream, acknowledge, cry, paint to begin anew in the season that prepares us for the ever-arising next thing.
    Holding you in the perfect honeyed light...

  8. How I related to this. My time is January. Florida is not snowy or bleak; but for me it tends to be. It was that time I lost my Callie. She was my 20 year old Calico kitty that appeared on my doorstep two weeks after my Dad died. Losing her was somehow like losing him again. She was only one of a dozen or more cats that have shared my life; but she was special.

  9. I sit here crying with you for I know all too well about loss and the things you talk about. Your first paragraph could have been written for me because I too loose myself in painting and each piece I create is made up of many many layers as I change from one color to another searching for just the right shade and combination.

  10. I think it's taking you way too long to get over the death of your cat. You might want to try some grief counseling.

  11. Anonymous: Only a mean-spirited coward posts a comment like that and remains anonymous.

    You might want to try some bullying counseling.

  12. Thanks Debi for sharing your personal thoughts with us. We all have battles, and moments of reflection and introspection. You're brave enough to publish yours, and the reason your "fan club" is so loyal, is that we can relate so intensely. I have mixed emotions about those who cannot relate, on one hand it would be a luxury to NOT be so sensitive (ignorance is bliss?) but on the other hand, it is like an art form to recognize, examine and deal with, head on, our emotional self. Rock on, Girl.

  13. You have brought me to tears. Not only by your thoughts of your maggie but your mom's dream totally got me. How beautiful that you have found such a way to heal.
    On a sour note: to the anonymous person who lacks the character to at least name themselves when belittling someone else's feelings: You make me cry too. I feel so sad for people like you who don't have the capacity for real empathy. I hope the universe sends you someone to help change that.
    Much love to you D,
    April Brown

  14. xoxo to everyone. even anonymous. it's my blog & i'll cry when i want to.

  15. I love this post, Debi, and I don't know how anyone can think that they have a right to measure someone else's pain or loss--its length or breadth or width. I'm mad that anonymous (of course) left that comment, but I'm glad that you responded just as you did. You rock. xo Gigi

  16. Just know that the "anonymous" blogger obviously doesn't know real love and that is the saddest part of all....

  17. And by the way, Happy Birthday. I have some music mixes that I'd like to send to you as a gift, I just can't figure out which store location is current (there are two listed on the internet, and Tyler is really far for me to drive and look...) I hope you're having a great day, being properly celebrated.

  18. I'm completely enamoured with the heaps of humanity this post contains.
    Our remembrances and nostalgias. Our colours, scents and smooth-cheeked touches; dreams and reality, leaves and cats and trips in the car.
    You painted this post the perfect colour, a colour of all seasons, the colour of the heart.

  19. Your heart is soft and so full of tenderness...and your character is rock solid, my friend. That anonymous comment left me in a state of utter shock...but when I read your reply....oh Debi, this is why I adore you so. Strength and tenderness reside so well together inside your soul.

    I know what you mean about autumn and the melancholy it evokes. It is my favourite season, yet sometimes when I watch the tree branches, so bare and empty, I feel it too. A goodbye...and I long for the reassurance of spring..that life will resume again. I find the cyclical patterns of the seasons so comforting...there is never an ending or a goodbye...just a constant returning, an ever-revolving door.

    May these new colours fill you will peace and well being.

  20. oh debi....you did it again.....tears in my tea as i sat here reading.

    tears in my tea that you don't see the same beauty in fall that i see. i wish you could wear my rose colored glasses for a day or two.

    tears in my tea about your mother dreaming of your father and how he truly came to visit her.....

    and just so you know....i banged down the door of "what an idiot" anonymous and kicked him/her in the shin really hard !

  21. First off Let me say Happy BIrthday! Then oh my, what a post. I have tears in my eyes for you, for the loss of maggie for the joy that love always brings to us.
    My 23 yr old mooncat died years ago and I still miss her every day. She was there for EVERYTHING I ever went through. As Maggie was for you..of course absolutly totally we will always miss them!!!
    Pfffttt on anonymous they are but a mouse...so there.

  22. 'Morning Light Glow' is exactly the colour I would paint my kitchen, if it were available. And as it's the room I spend most of my time in - I'd love the feeling of my Father there with me too. (My Dad is actually still alive, but none of us are immortal, one day - I'll feel this post as vividly as I was able to picture it.)

    I admire Artists for the all of who they are. Your ability to see colour and name it, replicate it, infuse personalities and tributes to it ~ I honour all of that in you.

    Yes, it IS your blog and you can cry if you want to. It's a pretty effective path of healing, too.

    Thank you for creating a space where the feeling of Friendship is palpable and the Love feels infinite and eternal ...


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