Living in New England in the fall is a time of beauty and one that visibly marks change. Here in Worcester, MA where I live the trees have retained their greenery for longer than usual but today, on my morning walk I began to see gold, orange, and red leaves, some on the ground, others brightening the branches of trees. This brings back memories of my mother at the end of her life. She died in October after suffering a a stroke subsequent to chemotherapy and lung cancer. As she laid in bed in the hospital I remember my father bringing in some carefully chosen leaves of color to brighten up the room and post on the bulletin board facing her bed. I am not sure she could appreciate their color or identify what they were but I do think she could feel the love they represented from my Dad—as did I.
To comfort myself after she passed I took out my watercolors and gave expression to my emotions with color and form. The painting did not seem quite complete so I began examining the ground around my house to choose a few leaves to add to it. I then dipped the leaves in glycerin hoping to preserve their brightness and vivacity and pasted them on the painting. Hoping to keep my watercolor as a momento I had it framed. I must not have done the procedure quite right because before too long, the leaves, though dipped and covered, became brown. I could not alter the decay or prolong their color. Everything changes. I realize this too is life. My mother and father have both now died but the memory of their love continues. I know this, I feel this yet, the sadness of their death remains and each fall I miss them and remember this time. The leaf I chose is still on the watercolor I created. It is no longer alive but the memory still exists and like death and feelings can not be denied.