Sunday, October 23, 2011

laughter through tears

My sweetie pie comes from a largish family – I believe he has something like thirty-and-a-few first cousins – and they’re all loud and crazy enough to have kept in touch over a couple of generations, such that at family reunions, second cousins show up as well. They’re a lot of fun. In my family, when we vacation together, we typically like to ignore each other amiably while we each read, or go for walks on the beach, coming together at meals. We have fun too – just in a more subdued way. In his family, everybody’s in the same room, generally all talking at the same time.
Sadly, the most spirited and ebullient of Kevin’s cousins passed away unexpectedly last week. Paul was only a handful of months older than Kevin, so it gives one pause. Over the weekend, we went down to Lawn Guyland for the wake and funeral: alas, the fourth such occasion in the past five years. We have the routine down. On Friday, the last of the visiting hours at the funeral home were held. It was pretty festive on the whole, with moments here and there throughout the evening of tears and hugs. Afterwards, some of us gathered at a diner for a very late dinner, yakking, carrying on, stealing food from one another’s plates, and generally behaving just shy of badly enough to avoid getting tossed to the curb by our friendly, but clearly world-weary, waitress.
On Saturday, we gathered again at the funeral home. The presiding attendant asked friends and neighbors to prepare to pay respect to Paul one last time. Then he asked aunts, uncles, and cousins to do the same. About half the room stood up. Giggling ensued. Eventually we made our way over to the church for Mass. Paul’s brother Bob gave a fantastic eulogy. As Kevin put it, when he placed the can of Budweiser on the lectern, he had us in the palm of his hand.
After the graveside services, we toasted Paul with more Budweiser, and then repaired to a restaurant where we stuffed ourselves silly. Once we got to the part where the kids were running laps around the room, it was time to go. The consensus is that Paul’s up in Heaven, firing up the grill, putting the beer on ice, and generally doing what he does best: creating a great party for friends and family, with a lot of food. And a lot of beer.
And then Kevin and I came home.
I finally.finally.finally. got outside with the camera after a lull of rainy weather last week, plus the weekend travel. Charlie was glad to see me, and hopped up on my lap as I attempted to capture the process by which beech leaves go brown.
Self-portrait with cat.
Beech. A rainbow of green all the way to brown on a single sapling.


Yellow foxtail: seeds formed and released.

Miss Lady, aka Maggie, poses for her portrait.

Wild rose. My buddies. Still hanging on to their desiccated stamens.

Drying fern fronds. Notice the dots?

They’re the spores.

Out in the field, a few brave souls are ignoring the memos.
“October, schmoctober”, says the violet.
Black-eyed Susan: “I got it going on.”

One last goldenrod puts on a show.

While the rest pump out seeds.
Meanwhile, in other news, last week a utility truck clipped the end of the bridge.
Someone came around to fix it on Friday, when we were heading out of town.
Much better.

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