Tidal Basin

Germination Detail Part III, by Leslie Shellow

contemplations about what stays in the net

Friday, December 31, 2010

On New Year's Day

This is what I will read tomorrow at my dear friend's memorial service. I have no words for the longing that will take place afterward when the crumbs are swept from beneath the tables and the pictures are taken down and wrapped up to go. 

“Love you lots,” Christine would say at the end of a regular conversation. She had this way of making sure people knew how much she cared about and appreciated them. I felt she was magical - a light shining even when she struggled. Her essence was so clear as if she were holding hands with the deepest part of herself. I knew I could trust her with my heart.

To me, Christine was a work of art- an immense splash of presence, a moment captured with the most vivid colors or the greatest amount of contrast. Black and white on grey or a sudden swash of emerald green. What is it like to be truly heard? Seen? I felt both when I was with her.

When I walked beside her, I saw the branches sparkle in winter because she saw them that way. When I spoke with her, I felt the heft of her listening – a gentle presence on the other end of the line urging me to know myself more.

She had that wish for herself, as well – to be known deeply and in the most abiding way. The week before she passed, she spoke to me of having experienced true love. She said she felt so lucky to have known that kind of love on Earth in her relationship with Rita. Rita, I know that you were a gift to Christine and she told me so when we spoke.

In many ways, we all realize this is an impossible task, so with this poem, I wish to approximate her beauty. My hope is that you will recognize some of your experience of Christine in my own.

She shimmered.
Emerald green on forest floor
A brightness so natural that
she became tree, riverbed, carefully worn pathway.
To see her was to listen closely to the ripple of laughter
she bathed us in when we’d tell our stories.
her heart wide enough open to gather our spirits together
and huddle like children in the mystery of life,
exploring yet another idea, another path, another round-the-bend.
And she, with her floppy hat at the pool’s edge, shaded from the sun’s fierce rays,
watched as we swam in cool water and bathed in warm light and told her of how it felt to move as creatures in another element. She sat, sun-glassed, and hatted, long-sleeved in her chair like she was perched upon our moment, never needing to get her feet wet really in order to understand and care about what our experience was.
And then she’d tell us, long and deep into conversation, how she
Knew the beauty of this world
And that the heart was made for diving into
Long before reason had its way with us.
And how every moment was precious
and how she lived to taste each morsel. 

Christine, love you lots.

We will miss you.


  1. Beautiful, Sarah. Heartbreaking and inspirational and beautiful.

    - Sivan

  2. Thank you, Sivan. Thank the Universe for words. Thank you for reading!

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