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.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

collective souls

OUR LIVES are touched most profoundly when we connect with other souls. Valentine's Day is a good day to remember that. It's not about couples, it's not about people who are alone. It's not about an ephemeral display of flowers and chocolate. It's about the collective of souls we connect with at the level of love.

FRAGILE HEART | This beautiful hand-blown glass ornament was a Christmas gift from my friends Eric and Tim, who now live in Germany. They bought it at one of the many Christmas markets 
there I've always wanted to visit. 
AS FRAGILE as life can be, we live most of our lives as if we are impervious to any harm or disease that might come our way. That's the only way to live life fully. When, in fact, the older we get, our physical selves decline, but our souls get stronger.

BLEEDING HEART | These shiny glittered glass heart ornaments were produced in antique molds in the Coburg area of Germany.
WITNESS the recent passing of my Bengal cat Abella. She lived a long and full life, but her body finally gave way. Up until that point, she commanded a matriarchal respect from both Frida, our Ragdoll cat and Tallulah Barkhead, our newest addition to the family.

A BEAUTY | Abella is Italian for "a beauty", and that she was. Rest in peace sweet Abella! This beautiful photo was taken by my great friend Claudia Lopez when Abella was probably 3 or 4 years old.
HER STRENGTH and presence was truly commanding. In dying, she left all of us an amazing gift. Because we were lucky enough not to have to make that terrible decision of an injected death, this family was brought closer together in her last moments. Juan and I laid on the bed with Abella on my chest and Juan with his hand on Abella's head. We knew the time was near. She passed so peacefully and beautifully with my hands cupped around her body. We both felt that magical last soul vibration just before her heart stopped. That locked us all together forever. No words can really describe this kind of peaceful beauty. It is an experience that, at once expands and calms at the same time. That was January 24th, just 3 weeks ago today.

TOOLS OF LOVE | These tools are made to be eaten because they are made of chocolate by Scholokomell in Germany. The heart-shaped chocolates are from Cacao in Atlanta. The flavors are sweet and spicy: gold is Aztec Aphrodisiac, white is Cayenne Passionfruit and pink is Antica Strawberry.
VALENTINE'S DAY isn't only for lovers, it's for friends also. Not only the glass ornament above was in a Christmas package from my friends Eric and Tim in Germany, they also included these wonderful chocolates in the shapes of a wrench, a bolt, a paintbrush and a tube of paint. Broad brushstrokes for collective souls indeed.

BUTCH ROMANCE | Chocolate tools by Scholokomell of Germany. The heart-shaped chocolates are from Cacao in Atlanta.
WE'RE ALL STRONGER for the collective souls that touch our lives. And as Juan always corrects me, when I tell him I am lucky to have him, saying "we are lucky", so I correct him now by saying I love "us". Together, all we have is us, and that is more than enough.


collecting, photography and styling by Darryl Moland