Weekly photo challenge: Reflection

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What is real? As I thought about the week’s photo challenge, this question floated to and fro. Because this photo, of a pond in eastern Germany, was taken with an old iPhone, the quality isn’t too crisp or clear. However, it’s easy to recognize the scenery: trees, around a pond and reflected in the water. A quiet place for reflection where everything looks normal. However, upon further inspection, you may notice that something is a little off, a bit surreal. Do you see it?

My reflections are often similarly unclear and unreal. As I get older, it’s difficult to decipher if remembrances of past events are 100% accurate or if they have been altered (like this photo) and affected by stories I have been told or stories I have read. When I was younger, things appeared so black and white; but as I age, those distinctions seem less clear and less important. What is real and what is an illusion?

What is real?

Daily Prompt: You – Who me?

I admire humble people
and appreciate beautiful things
I want to create and give
but what exactly, I know not

I have been called a daughter, a leader, a girlfriend, a lover, a foreigner, a graduate, an insider, a teacher, an engineer, a manager, an outsider, a significant other, a partner, a wife, a nerd, a best friend, a nomad, a gypsy, a gourmand, a friend, an executive, a colleague, a trainer, an acquaintance, a college student, a supervisor, a leader, an outsider, a yogini, a bookworm,
and many other titles, designations and even some ignorant names
but what do those titles mean to WHO i am?
I know not

I care, I feel, I hope, I dream, and I aspire
I cry, I withdraw, I suffer, and I feel pain

I simply am, like many,
a work in progress.

Daily Prompt: You – Who me?

A life’s winter

White-washed walls, accented with stained-glass windows forged hundreds of years ago, and somber organ music, which set the mood, welcomed us in as we soberly entered the small Kapelle, a tiny church.  Near the front of the small altar, we took a moment to pause in front of the urn, perched in a make-shift garden of vibrant flower bouquets.  Then we turned and took a seat in one of the awaiting pews.  Occasional sniffling here and there interrupted and enhanced the organ music vibrating in the air.  We listened, we cried, and we waited.

The pastor entered from the rear and took his place at the front.  He welcomed us.  He spoke about the beauty of life and the inevitability of death, and the fact that they both exist in partnership; one is not possible without the other.  Then he described the beloved.  She was born in 1915.  She survived the depression, she studied and worked as a florist, she survived two world wars and lost everything twice, she married and bore children, who then bore their own children.  As a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, she lived an amazing and full life.

I first met her when I was dating her grandson.  While we were still dating and getting to know each other, he announced that he wanted me to meet his family, especially his grandmother.  I remember how stressful and uncertain that made me feel.  “Why does he want me to meet his grandmother and his family?  What if she doesn’t like me?  I am definitely not what his family is expecting in a mate.  Will his family like me?  We’re so different.  It’ll never work.”  We chose a weekend and drove to his hometown, not far from Berlin, in East Germany.  I remember noting how the landscape changed as we drove closer to his home:  Cities with high rises and modern buildings gave way to thick forests, which gave way to fields of wind turbines, which gave way to thick forests again.  His town, dating back to the Medieval Ages, was older than my country, the U.S.A.  Wow!

He took me to her summer home for an afternoon of coffee and cake.  Her confident presence, warm hospitality, and infectious smile welcomed me immediately.  But as a foreigner in a very protective homogenous land, tainted with unimaginable history of discrimination, I was scared, unsure of myself and not at all confident about the visit.  After the visit, her grandson declared with a smile, “She really likes you.”  I was relieved and pleased (so was the grandson).  I asked him what his parents thought and he replied, “It’s more important to me that my grandmother likes you.”

My grandmother in law passed away on 5 Dec 2013, just shy of her 98th Birthday.  She will be missed but not forgotten by those who loved and survived her.  Life is short; make sure you’re living the life YOU want!