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In Memoriam: When It Is Time To Go

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Wider Angle – Allowing the Heart to Unfold  

June, 2008


From somewhere in the break of clouds, I looked down upon a landscape I hadn’t seen in nearly half a year – a land now lush and green with the rebirth of leaves, moss and grasses, the towering stands of pines, cobalt lakes and a jeweled ribbon of coastline holding back shimmering sea and islands.  Ambivalent and perhaps even a bit frightened, I took in a deep breath. The air was cool and crisp and smelled green, unlike the still heat of the Mexican sun that had slowly browned my skin and highlighted my hair with gold.  Unsure of what surprise my emotions might have in store, I stepped forward.


I have returned to my home in Maine, to the bittersweet month of June, of purple and pain, lupine and lilacs and the sixth anniversary of my husband’s death.  Time, the intangible and healer of all wounds - once a blurred concept you couldn’t imagine let alone believe.  The mending process is slow and not always kind but it does become gentler and more forgiving and suddenly, when you least expect it, you’re whole again, open to all again, love and pain and the rolling tides of emotions in between.


After a thousand days, and a thousand more, slowly I’ve opened the door and allowed the unfolding.  Like the rebirth of the landscape, I too have come back, to myself and to living, allowing my heart to bloom again and to whatever this crazy wonderful life is ready to toss in my direction.                      

Recently, a friend said to me: I find it interesting at this time of our lives what we bring to the table and the things we hold onto - and that can't easily be let go of.  In fact, I'm amazed that people are able to connect for any length of time considering everything that has happened to them over the years.      

And connecting is difficult, still, because after all, what we are most afraid of in life is being hurt.  But sometimes it’s important to kick down those barricaded doors that trap us in our self-imposed prisons, and run out into this world naked and with outstretched arms – for better or worse.  I’ll take my chances.  Home is where the open heart lives.                  

Beveled Vision 

And then there is a slight bevel in your vision and suddenly things appear different, askew.  And that can be disconcerting depending on how deep your heart is buried and if you’re ready to see things form from a shifted perspective that unexpectedly, takes the shape of a vessel, any vessel, with feet forward and outstretched arms, wheels or wings, that transports you to the place where your heart, all along, told you was home, but you ignored in the perceived clarity of a narrow vision that made you lose sight of living in the lush forests of the periphery.  And where you belonged in this world since before your first breath.

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Breathe deeply this moment and hold it in equal measure; fiercely and with passion, and at the same time, with open heart ready to release it to the winds of  desire that with gossamer wings, makes us eager to face a new day with determination and unbridled hope.                                

Uncertain Future – But Clearer of Path                            

So another season has come and gone.  Another life cycle begins.  And I know of only one thing for sure it will bring – as sure as the sun and moon – it will bring change.  It will deliver the unexpected, no matter how much we plan.  Tomorrow is not entirely up to us. 

 The small light of the moon, only on occasion, gives us glimpses of things we hope to come, shimmering across the water’s surface, perhaps not a beacon, but even the slimmest ray of light illuminates a path.               

In Memoriam:  When It Is Time To Go 

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...Like glimpses of forgotten dreams – Tennyson      

June, 2002

I will forever remember those words, the last of tiny white petals to bloom from his soft pink lips. How they shot over and through me - not a rain of flowers, but a torrent of water - engulfed by waves. I remember the numbness, the fighting for my breath as I felt the sea pull me under, my need to repeat the words, seemingly through mouthfuls of sand, when, in fact, they were as clear and as deafening as any words ever spoken.
"I think it is time to go."

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A native Californian, Jan Baumgartner is a writer and book editor. After many years along the coast of Maine, she now lives full time in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She's recently finished editing two books; one, a memoir for a non-profit in (more...)

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I cried twice this week. The first time was when I... by Bob Gormley on Friday, Jun 6, 2008 at 7:12:19 PM
thank you.  I cried too over the loss of Rob&... by Jan Baumgartner on Friday, Jun 6, 2008 at 7:36:54 PM
I am getting verklempt!... by Gary Markowitz on Friday, Jun 6, 2008 at 7:53:31 PM
Those are the words from the song  by V. Vyso... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Jun 6, 2008 at 7:54:45 PM
Gary: if memory serves me well, I think I get the ... by Jan Baumgartner on Friday, Jun 6, 2008 at 8:01:44 PM
And I've known that since you first told me yo... by Margaret Bassett on Saturday, Jun 7, 2008 at 12:57:41 AM
Margaret.  I love how rich and full your... by Jan Baumgartner on Saturday, Jun 7, 2008 at 9:42:07 AM
JanThank you for such a beautiful testimony to lov... by Michael Richardson on Saturday, Jun 7, 2008 at 9:45:42 AM
article on living in Mexico a few weeks back. Abou... by Stanimal on Saturday, Jun 7, 2008 at 12:13:54 PM
I am deeply sorry for your losses.  I underst... by Jan Baumgartner on Saturday, Jun 7, 2008 at 1:23:17 PM
     What I long for is t... by mikel paul on Saturday, Jun 7, 2008 at 2:59:49 PM
Mikel, this comment made me teary.  But I'... by Jan Baumgartner on Saturday, Jun 7, 2008 at 3:39:27 PM
Tibetan monks and mythologists talk about little d... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Jun 7, 2008 at 9:03:11 PM
to you!  Just kidding.  Took awhile to l... by Jan Baumgartner on Saturday, Jun 7, 2008 at 9:37:27 PM
and another to you, a crazy wonderful and crazy be... by j lh on Sunday, Jun 8, 2008 at 10:35:00 AM
Wherever you are on your road trip, how I miss our... by Jan Baumgartner on Sunday, Jun 8, 2008 at 12:26:26 PM