Look and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.
Throughout this last year, when I took these photographs, I was not thinking of her as I took them. I wasn’t thinking that by Thanksgiving, she would be gone. These photographs were my vision, what I saw in the world around me, not hers.
But in looking more closely, I see now that they also reflect things she loved throughout her long life — the slant of light in all seasons, gardens and flowers, riotous color, sunrises and sunsets, ocean and woods, and just a hint at the mysteries of life.
What I loved in the beginning , I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago…
…And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself, then forget it. Then, love the world.
The above quotes are from the poem “To Begin With, the Sweet Grass,” by Mary Oliver, portions of which my mother had highlighted in her cherished book Devotions: the Selected Poems of Mary Oliver.
Susan Leonard Loomis passed away November 18th, 2021, after 88 years of deeply loving the world. The world and I will miss her wholeheartedly. xoxo