There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

a bluebird and a butterfly

WINGED CREATURES are understandably associated with transformation, freedom and an unencumbered ability to soar. That's something we earthbound humans have long held a jealous fascination with. Imagine being able to quickly dart around in thin air, ride the wind and come back down to earth whenever we wanted. It would certainly give us a different perspective of the world—a bird's-eye view—if you will. From that vantage point, I'm sure we could all see things a bit differently. We could see the awesome wonder of nature in it's entirety instead of a tree or a leaf at a time and we might have more of an appreciation for being a part of it.

MEMORIAL DAY, to me is not just about fallen military war heroes or the beginning of summer. It is also a time to reflect on what being a citizen of the world means, regardless of military affiliation. Although my father was a U.S. army veteran of WWII and came home safe, I knew his life was marked by the atrocities he saw during the war. At that time my mother worked in a manufacturing plant, taking over jobs that were usually dominated by the men who were off at war. Essentially, she was a “Rosie the Riveter,” which has become a strong symbol for feminism. These formative parts of their lives forged an amazing strength and fortitude. They met upon my father's return home from WWII, by my father seeing my mother with a girlfriend who turned her down for going to see a movie that night. My father stepped in and told her he'd go to that movie with her. And the rest is history. If they had lived another year, they would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. I miss hearing them tell this story, but can hear the intonation and love in their voices when I remember this.

THESE UNUSUAL jobs for their time bought claim to a proud part of history. They wouldn’t recognize our country as it is now and I’m not sure they would be entirely sold on the ideals (or lack thereof) that we seem to fight wars for these days. They were a part of the Greatest Generation—they were a part of fighting the "good war" in ending Hitler's reign. My mother and father were both “war heroes” in the battle for the ever-elusive American dream. I don't think it's because of them though that we're in the shape we're in as a country. I think our overall values have been maligned since then by corporate greed and a lack of respect for Mother Nature.

Enlarge image to a legible size by clicking on it twice.
THESE ORNAMENTS are symbols of my parents. The bluebird represents my father because of his sparkly blue eyes and the pink butterfly represents my mother because it was her favorite color. Of course both of these ornaments also represent in them everything winged creatures do, as noted in the first paragraph of this post. I bought four of each, one set for myself and the others for each my three siblings as Christmas gifts in 2007. This was two years after my parents had died. I designed a card (shown at right) to fit in the bottom of the box made for keeping them.

REMEMBRANCE is the best way to bring them close now. But I also remember the simple gift of hope for living “the American dream” that was instilled in all of us. It seems in the world we live in today, that dream is becoming distorted for more and more people as the classes divide disproportionately, leaving the middle class, of which we were a part of struggling to just get by. There's no room for dreams within that scenario. But I'll remember what my parents represented and keep plugging along. That dream was simply goodness and learning to fly.
WINGED FLIGHT | (Top): These glittery ornaments were both from the 2007 holiday collection at Z. Gallerie and were Christmas gifts to my siblings representing my parents. Blue was the color of my father's eyes and pink was definitely my mother's signature color. Flight was something they acquainted all of us with, even in spirit.

WINGED VICTORY | (Above): I remember seeing this several years ago when in Washington D.C. and being overwhelmed with its beauty. One of the most beautiful and symbolic memorials to the Greatest Generation, four American eagles hold a suspended laurel wreath in the Baldacchino sculpture that is only one part of the beautiful National WWII Memorial in Washington, DC. The memorial is classically-designed as it should be for the era. It was only opened to the public on April 29, 2004. Photo by Richard Latof. 

Collecting and styling by Darryl Moland,
Photo of the WWII memorial by Richard Latof, 
sculpture by Baldacchino.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

CatMan Tree

Last night I saw the CatMan Tree had bloomed again. In itsbranches were nestledcats of every type and color. I watched in awed silence as the CatMan gently placed his children upon the earth in a tribute he makes the night of May 5th only once every fifty years.

IT'S NOT OFTEN (maybe once every 50 years)—like today on my 50th birthday—that you feel like a kid all over again. It's also not often you're immortalized in a fairytale. The beautiful card my children's book illustrator friend Odette designed for my birthday is shown in the photo, replete with a tall tale and original artwork! My birthday so far has been amazing. It started a couple of days ago at work (since I'm taking today through the weekend off—deservedly so!). My coworkers threw me an incredible party this past Wednesday at work with a big cake and lots of food and gave me a gift card for an iPad! So I'll be able to blog from anywhere now! I can't thank them enough—I certainly feel the love!

I LOOK FORWARD to an impromptu dinner tonight with a small group composed of a friend, a relative and my new love at a restaurant called Top Flr here in Atlanta. Tomorrow night it's a Kylie Minogue concert with Jon and and a friend. 

My good friend Peggy Dana modified
Princess Beatrice's
fascinator with the
of the number 5 for the
(virtual) birthday hat ever! 

(That's me on my 49th birthday).

AGE IS ONLY a number (I'll keep telling myself that). Fifty is the new forty, right? All I know is that even though my life hasn't been a fairytale, I've been pretty damn fortunate to see the things I've seen, to live the way I have, and to continue to live, grow and learn. My friends and my family have been there for me to help make it all possible. It's not what you have, but how much you are loved. That is all you can take with you when it's time to move to the next realm of existence. 

I KNOW—my mother told me (without speaking) when I was holding her hand at her death in 2005 (and in one experience shortly after) that life goes on—and it is beautiful and full of love. It's all about how you look at it and how wide you open your eyes to receive all the secrets of the universe.

ON THIS upcoming mother's day, I send all my wishes and love to my mother (the roses in the photo above are from her rose bush I carry with me wherever I go—and it is blooming profusely this year!). I thank her (and my father) for my life every day. They taught me how to love—and truly, that is the best gift anyone can give. And you know what? You'll find that while you're being taught, you're actually teaching. My mother told me so. 

Collecting and styling by Darryl Moland
CatMan Tree illustration by Odette Colón
Fifty Fascinator Photoshopped by Peggy Dana