Saturday, August 27, 2016

St. Frances...Patron Saint of Animals and Gold Leaf

Madonna and Child with Gold Leaf Accents
Today I received a box which contained a highly anticipated order of Gold Leaf for my studio.  I felt like a six year old excitedly opening a present.  I use Gold Leaf for a magnificent finishing touch on my saint statues.  This carton of sunlight miraculously arrived at my studio door in a deceivingly dull brown box.  The beauty of the metal leafing was so striking it made my eyes tear-up and my heart ache as I took it out of the package.

Gold Leaf comes in metal sheets that are pressed so thin they float on air.  It is illusive to handle because it is almost impossible to hold without breaking apart.  Even when everything seems perfect, adding the Gold Leaf makes it more so.  Like adding Creme Fraiche to a freshly baked pear tart, the thin golden air sets off what's underneath in a way nothing else can.  Like adding the exact right piece of jewelry to an evening dress or the perfect flower from your garden to your dinner table, it's not necessary but once it's there you can't imagine being deprived of it. There are things we don't know we need in our lives but once we have them we feel we can't live without them.  You simply can't unsee it.

My dog Maizey was the Creme Fraiche in my life.  She was the Gold Leaf that made my day sparkle.  She filled an empty spot I didn't know existed.  Always there, willing to take as much or as little attention as I could give at any moment. She was my transition dog, escorting me through loss and change and discoveries that life presented over the five years she was with me.  She was a bridge between my head and my heart, showing me things about myself I hadn't known and her death taught me things I was not capable of knowing any other way.  

Maizey's Tea Party
Originally, Maizey came into my life as a way for me to soften the upcoming loss of my old dog, Rita.  Maizey unknowingly helped me weather the decline and finally the loss of my mother, with whom she had a special relationship.  She helped me with the inherent deep sadness that followed.  She loved me in spite of my being consumed with my mother's care and my becoming someone others and I had a hard time liking.  Maizey got me up in the morning smiling, made me feel going in the car was the best thing on earth and mealtime was Christmas twice a day.  She made me appreciate all of the mundane things of everyday living and she helped soften the hard stuff being on earth long enough can bring.

I prayed for St. Frances to intervene when Maizey first started getting sick.  Without St. Frances's help I wouldn't have had the chance to return her steadfast dedication and give her every chance to survive. Some days the helplessness overwhelmed me.  Other days I learned to just be present with her, knowing the end wasn't far away.  I had hoped I could control the path we were on but she showed me it was a waste of our time together and what mattered was the "how" and not the "what".

Now I see that the most important thing I learned from Maizey was to never again be satisfied with the inside of the box.  She took a series of unrelated events and wove a circuitous route of eight months of random illness into something that finally made sense in the end.  Only afterwards did I understand how the limits of my own brain kept me from seeing all of the possibilities and I learned I would never be able to see things in only a logical sequential way again.  Like the surface of Gold Leaf that casts a different light on what is underneath, Maizey showed me that there is more...she set off my life in a way I didn't know I needed.  She filled a hole I didn't know needed filling.  She let the golden light loose.  Like Gold Leaf, she made everything look brighter and more beautiful than ever before. 

Maizey         2010-2016   
As I touch the airy sheet of Gold Leaf gently so as not to break it apart, I think about what Maizey brought to my life in those 5 years we spent together.  How she touched my heart then broke it apart putting it back together with a dazzling light that makes my eyes tear-up and my heart ache.  Thank you, Maizey for spending those few short minutes with me as our lives crossed paths in the best of ways.  You are forever my Gold Leaf.           


1 comment:

  1. Thinking about you after reading your blogs.... come see us: you have the schedule... we don't...wendy and Kate (541-482-7303). I think that one thing that helped me after loss is that Maizey and your mother would want you to have a good life and a fulfilling life which includes happiness think about it....