Friday, July 17, 2009

Is That You, God?

In their times of struggles, a couple of my friends have tried on organized religion. Desperate to plug holes gouged by fear and despair, they wore the trappings of church ceremony like single use prom dresses or ill-fitting jeans on wide birth bodies. I humored them, but thought them silly. What could I say? I envied their ability to grasp a hold of simple things to help them through their times of need. One of them now imagines her long gone mother as butterflies. The other sees her sister in Dragonflies. Me? I see nothing in nothing. I wish I believed otherwise; I wish I had some icon to hold me. Long ago, I had a nephew with Down’s syndrome. Joey died at ten from complications of Down’s. He was buried in Madawaska, Maine on a frigid April day. On a map, Madawaksa sits on the ‘crown’ of Maine, though there is nothing royal nor glorious about it. It’s an eight-hour drive through gloomy spruce forests and potato fields to nowhere. At the graveside, I stood shivering and watched his little casket lowered into a hole. Joey was a trial when he was alive. He was rough and crude, a thug. He needed watching around his cousins because without intending to he could hurt somebody. We accepted that about Joey. When one of the smaller cousins would wail that Joey had punched or shoved them someone would always say “that boy don’t know his own strength.” But, when he died, he seemed suddenly gentle. It was impossible to imagine him set into the hard, cold ground of Madawaska, Maine. That image has remained in my mind. I wish that I could exchange it for a butterfly or a dragonfly, silly or not.
Bluetail damselfly


Fritillary butterfly


  1. Hi Robin, I finally took the time to read your blog. Pictures are great.

  2. Hi Robin: I liked the butterfly story, and loved the sailboat picture. Where were you when that was taken? I bet those sailors would love to see that.

  3. Lovely photos! I too have no religious crutch to lean on in hard times.
    The closest thing, what gives me some strength, is the beauty of the
    natural world and its creatures.

  4. I love your blog. Fabulous photos and writing. Thanks for sharing. Maybe
    I'll actually go update mine.


  5. You were good before, but I think your 3-day conference done you more good. These photos are lit pefectly and the detail couldn't be better. Simply lovely. And agreed, wouldn't it be comforting to have the cushion of a strong belief.