Friday, October 4, 2013

For my friend, Jeanne...

A couple of weeks ago a dear and precious friend who shared a long history with me left this world.  She lived a full and long life with great spirit.  Some of my most special friends are gathering for a little memorial on Monday.  I'd like to share my thoughts about her.  Her name is Jeanne.

Maybe I am in Mexico because of Jeanne.  She’s definitely a factor. I could write a missal on the many ways Jeanne opened my heart for more life to enter in, but now I will tell you just a little of the beginning and what it is like to live with her now.

As I breeze about my day, I am not alone with my thoughts. I find it is Jeanne who I converse with the most.  She is easy to be with and we always talk about lovely things.  I love the way she pronounced my name:  Aah-maranth, the first syllable like aah.

I met Jeanne in the 90’s.  I was living on the Shore and working during the week in Virginia Beach.  I hadn’t had time to make friends and my life was all work.  One weekend I visited the combination frame shop/candy shop on the main street of Onancock…that business had to have been Jeanne’s brainchild.  That day she educated me on the art of framing while she fed me pear and buttered-popcorn jelly bellies. That was the beginning of our friendship.

We are taught beauty.  Someone stops us and gets us to crouch down to look at the beautiful backside of a zinnia and we awaken to wonder and beauty and joy.  Jeanne was relentlessly enthusiastic for searching out the beautiful, her heart brim-full of a child’s wonder.  That was Jeanne’s gospel and she made a convert.

I once had a dream that Jeanne and I were upstairs in her house in Onancock and we were standing before a full-length mirror trying on hats.  She was standing behind me placing hats on my head and I could see her face reflecting a playful, feminine attitude for each hat.   I felt that dream as an encouragement to experiment, to push out the pegs of my tent further, so to speak, to enlarge myself.  Jeanne was a model of all that.  As I age I think of what it is to age with grace, those attributes of ageless beauty:  true-feminine, courageous, wise, confident in a hat.

Maybe I am a hat-maker because of Jeanne.  She’s definitely a factor.  I’ve crocheted 70 hats from plastic-bag yarn in the last 3 years – no two alike.  Each one for me is a work of art and a prayer.  I’ve come to think of a hat as an everyday-halo since my husband told me that my hats are my glory.  All the hats that I’ve made are halos on the heads of other women and girls. The ones who wear them don’t know that there’s a little bit of Jeanne in she loved angels and faeries and gave wings to love.

So for the many things I could not put to words, I made a hat, a simple, joyful hat, a hat that will make you smile and think,  “Yes, red for passion, a rose for a queenly friend, yes, Jeanne.”

These days I wear more than one hat.  Life keeps expanding me.  My capacity of heart grows larger too.  This I’ve learned from Jeanne: to live life well at every age, to learn what we are meant to learn and to give back what we are meant to give back…with beauty and passion to the last day. Aah-men.

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