Realms of the Soul – September 2019

My wife Kathy at the beach as we wallow in the last days of summer

We have a small mosaic table on the deck just outside our bedroom. It is tiled with circular pieces of clear glass laid over metal foil. Mid-day, in the summer, when the sun brushes the table, dozens of multi-colored prisms are reflected onto the ceiling of our room. As the afternoon progresses a kaleidoscope of images journey theatrically across the distance of the space. The table performs as a sundial of sorts and by September we have to move the table – chasing the descending angle of the sun – to keep the prism-show from rolling out of town. 

By mid-October, the table’s stewardship of this magical piece of summer comes to an end. The sun will have gotten too low in the sky to reflect off of the table and as with all seasonal performances, the prism- show pulls up stakes, the table is stored away, and the first brilliant leaves of fall begin to gather and swirl across the arc on the deck where the table has finished traveling. Though a new show opens outside our bedroom door, we are never, ourselves, quite so ready to have our memories of summer stored away with the table.

The mosaic table

We’ve found a particular means to hang on to the colors, warmth, and memories of summer just a bit longer this year – memories of beach trips with our children when they were young, vacations with our grandchildren over the years – memories of picnics with friends, objects we’ve found and collected on our walks on the beach the last several months.

September’s Realm is a collection of photographic memories of our life and various objects that will serve into the upcoming months as visual tickets to summers passed – memories that could otherwise be dulled by time, recollection, and the demands of the everyday.

A photographic Realm is easily done through a willingness to replace some of the framed photographs you already have or by investing in some new frames, frames that – in design – maybe have a summer feel themselves.  Thrift stores are stacked with dozens of inexpensive frames (the source of the ones we have in the collection photographed here all having cost less than four dollars each.)

Copy and enlarge photographs that will feed your summer spirit; your mom teaching you how to swim, your dad carrying you on his shoulders, your children jumping in a pool – your old dog exploring the surface of a lake.  And, don’t put away your summer finds just yet: the seashells you found last July, the stone you picked up at the river, that feather left behind on your deck, the piece of driftwood your grandchild gave you, the flower you dried – the seeds you might have collected.  It’s only September, invite summer to stay – on the corner of a table, a shelf near the sink, the dashboard of your car, a wall near your computer – just for a few more minutes; all those beings you have loved, all of those summer moments that would be honored to linger in your heart.  Let summer catch your attention – just out of the corner of your eye, for one more hour – one more day.

My favorite chair from the past – Lake Union, Washington

2 Responses

  1. Sam says:

    As the end of summer nears, I always look forward to fall. Then, when the reality (rain) of fall hitachi, I always remember how much I love summer. This month’s realm – what a lovely way to ease the transition of seasons.

  2. Fred Swan says:

    We have several photographs of friends in our Realm this month, photos taken when we were all young, friends we’d still love to have summer moments with, but can’t. Suddenly that day, that picnic, that rafting trip becomes so vivid – as well as those moments from summers with our grandchildren who are all now grown. Changing out the photographs is such an easy way to time travel, to hang onto a season, a moment of love – such a powerful way to remember. Hey Sam, thank you so much for contributing this month! I hope you will stop by again!

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