It’s in the details

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One of the things I like to do is highlight the details, the small things, in flowers that you don’t see unless you – or your camera lens – get very close to the subject.

This week, I found out how challenging it is to find the details in mythology. I posed a simple question to my Comparative Mythology professor and spent hours and hours over the next two days responding to his attempts to get me to look at the details, find the answers, learn to compare. I didn’t get the right answers, I got completely lost along the way, but it was interesting trying to find how Snow White was possibly, maybe connected to the World Tree concepts which were spread across Eurasia (I know, right?).

Comparative Mythology is my favourite class. Usually. Mostly. I like all my classes but this is the only one that I willingly get out of bed and drag myself out in the cold of winter to attend at 8:30 in the morning. Given that every snowstorm we’ve had seems to occur on a Sunday night/Monday morning, this is no easy feat.

There is something about the power of myths coming down through time, the ways in which they have told and retold history – it’s just so captivating. It’s like it spins a web around you and pulls you in. The search for the details, the way that this tradition meets up with another, how these languages changed and evolved and distorted over time. Seriously.

It’s like looking at a flower and seeing the hundreds and thousands and millions of flowers that came before it to make it this flower.

The fact that the professor is brilliant and has lived a bit of a mythical life helps. His stories about finding the details in the stories, well, that’s half the fun. The way he says something and then laughs at the weirdness of the details. It is amazing to think that a person can live their whole lives in pursuit of something so elusive.

The first in the Nart Sagas we are studying right now has a section that reads:

If our lives be short,

Then let our fame be great!

Let us not depart from the truth!

Let fairness be our path!

Let us not know grief!

Let us live in freedom!

Really, how much better can it get than that.

….I could walk in my garden forever

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever – Tennyson

When my father passed away, I was given a gift of remembrance from some coworkers. The gift was 50 tulip bulbs….

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The other day I realized that this fall, it will be 10 years since my dad passed away. I think that came as a surprise to me because I do think about my dad all the time, even though he is gone. He once told me that when I was in a job interview, to answer questions as he would – brag a little. In the last months of his life, we talked almost everyday. And everyday he would choose one thing that I did that day and tell me how I had done a “good job” on that thing. He was specific and earnest.

I was not close to my dad growing up. My parents were divorced when I was too young to remember him. He was not a regular (or even irregular) part of my life until I was in my twenties and living across the country from him. It took us a long time to negotiate our relationship. Fortunately, it became much easier before he passed away. And everything before that no longer matters.

These days, my dad is often in my thoughts. I am struggling, trying to figure out how to work with a particular student and finding that my patience is being tested. A lot. So, sometimes, when I am struggling, I think about what my dad would say. I know that there’s a good chance what he would say would be very colourful and perhaps more than a little inappropriate – but at the same time, it makes me laugh and reminds me how I would scold and educate my dad on his inappropriate comments. It also makes me realize that if I could have the patience to forge my relationship with my dad, a relationship that took more than 40 years of negotiations to build, that I can have patience with this little person for one more day.

Orchid

I have never grown orchids – primarily because I do not possess anything close to a green thumb. I do really appreciate their beauty though….

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Nobody sees a flower…

Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.  – Georgia O’Keeffe

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….joy forever….

A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness. – John Keats

Some people think that as a flower ages, it loses its loveliness – I disagree, especially if you can capture it through a photo…..

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