I feel her in the wind, in the leaves, in a bird’s song, I feel her in all of nature around me. I remember the leaf fights during the heavy southern California rains as a child. A two year old giggling from under my bath towel as she wiggled my nose; “Ah, I’ve found an ear … then this must be a nose” as she tugged my ear. The fire crackling as she read poetry, her voice deep and feathery, with the dog, cat, my brothers and me all captured by her passion. I remember our long talks, our dog walks, our nattering over a glass of wine watching the sunset over the shimmering bay. I smell the coming rain and think of how I had to describe it, her birth defect, born without a sense of smell. Holding my hand, head back, eyes closed in fanciful delight as she filled her lungs then in a big whoosh exhausting the cool crisp air and asking, “What does it smell like, the rain”? “Sweet, cool, wet, and grassy”, to this day she and the first rains are one.
I think of her painting, of having to pose for her when she studied photography, of our crazy stories when we worked together, of being curled up in her bed and holding a cold press on her nose bleed weeks before she died. I think of her incredible beauty, her smile, her laugh, of her joy in life, of her deep friendships, of her love of animals and her compassion for humanities imperfections. She lived life fearlessly.
I miss her laugh, her stern but honest critiques of my work, her unyielding determination, her granite like assuredness, her warmth, her singing me to sleep with bar room ballads like; The Night That Jonny Murphy Died.
I smell her on the wind, I see her in the landscape of Africa, I know she is free, I know she is in me. I love her like no other, my mother, my Ev.