I’m starting with a photo, because it will give you at least 10,000 words for God. Being Gina, I am now steering by starlight. There's no telling where I will land or what I will write. I might do a poem, or some unwieldy tome. Or I could just come straight to the point and tell you about the azure blue Tree Swallows that have taken up residence in the wooden bird boxes at the edge of the meadow. The swallows love resting on the head of our sitting Buddha.
A few minutes ago, wearing my powder blue bathrobe, and remembering fondly my brave Leah, I stepped outside into the incredibly chilly May morning and sat down in the lounge chair gazing into the meadow. Another swallow lands on the shepherd's hook long enough for me to take a photo.
My fingers are turning icy, but I am determined to sit and wait for the bird to return. I have in mind this very special friend, Kellie Meisl, who stands so still for so long in her garden that the chickadees land on her head and pluck out strands of her long hair! And then there are the hummingbirds who come to her hands!
Did I tell you about the two goldfinches that dance and fly back and forth in front of the meadow?
Rich -- whose third grade bird was a goldfinch -- is meditating now and I am writing so that I might feel calm and now there is glorious bird show for us to behold.
THERE HAVE BEEN THREE DEATHS THIS WEEK. Dear God the pain. First David. Then Barbara and now Doreen. I am wrapping them and me and everybody else in violet violet flames. There is no explaining death. There is just a deep appreciation that you have to keep going, and you have to stay firmly locked in this moment and this one and this. I keep coming back to the violet flames that cut through fear and longing and anything else in the human realm that holds you back. The flames transmutes the human insecurity into the Divine.
When I am fully immersed in violet flames, singing the mantra:
"I am a Being of Violet Fire, I am the Purity of God's desire," then the fear and anxiety just dissolve. I am not afraid of death, mine or anyone else's, because we are all together forever in Divine love. My ancestors are with me. I can see forever. I can breathe in English and in Italian "Posso respire e rilassarmi ed ester felice in quest in ogni momento."
I can breathe and relax and be joyful in this and every moment.
Exactly one month ago, on May 1st, I wrote the chapter about my Great Grandmother Clementina Ciucci, who told her daughter, my Grandma Michelina, to vaccinate her 9 month old baby, Dante Antonio. Writing that chapter threw me into such deep sadness I had trouble recovering. When I think about that chapter I see it like a dark tombstone in the cemetery of Saint Bernhard's church in Tariffville, Connecticut, where so many of my relatives are buried.
But I am not going to write a depressing book about death. I am writing a book to celebrate LIFE! I am writing a joyful remembrance of all the extraordinary family experiences I have loved over my lifetime. I am celebrating all the brothers of my mother who lived and did wonderful things with their lives: The second Dante, Dell, Louis, Claude, and Paul. I am celebrating all of their lovely wives, my Aunts Joyce -- WHO IS STILL ALIVE WITH A 92ND BIRTHDAY TOMORROW, JUNE 3RD -- Aunt Marcella, Aunt Mary, Aunt Shirley and Aunt Anamae. I am celebrating all 17 of my first cousins, and their children and now their great grandchildren.
And they are just a few of my many many relatives on my mother's side of the family. To see all the Rotondo's in one place you have to see the beautiful family tree that my cousin Pat Rotondo designed. (Pat who is also celebrating a birthday tomorrow, June 2nd!)
I will end with a plea to the Great Divinity that I may always STAY GRATEFUL for the oodles of family I am blessed to have.