|Hosta 'Sum and Substance' 2 July 2021|
Because I am about to be 79 in a couple of months I am asked frequently, “What are you doing about your legacy?”
While I seldom parade here my religious beliefs when my wife died in December (a few minutes before it happened) she looked at me. In those eyes I read a goodbye because years before we had discussed that upon our deaths we would not see each other again.
Based on that idea my answer to the question is, “My legacy, be damned.”
I believe that in this century and especially in our Vancouver (a city with a brief memory) any archive is a place where documents and photographs (and illustrations) go to be forgotten and then to die.
Another concern is that our city’s papers and other publications are doing little about preserving digital links to articles in their newspapers and magazines.
My architect friend, Abraham Rogatnick, a year before he died, told me, “After me the deluge. I am not long for this world and I am glad of it.”
Both my daughters have been helping me put my family archives in some sort of order. We will try to trash some of the pictures but this is still laborious. My files of people I have photographed since I arrived in Vancouver in 1975 are filed in alphabetical order. But there are a few problems. If you look for Liv Ullmann you will not find her. She is in a separate filing cabinet called Authors.
I have at the very least about 500 files of women either not wearing anything or little. What will become of them? I have photographs of landscapes and travel photographs I took when magazines sent me around the world. Will they be ignored and lost?
But it is thanks to my over 2000 plant scans (I started in 2001) that I have finally found an answer to what legacy is to me.
This past June and now in July I have been scanning the plants of the garden as if there were no tomorrow.
I enjoy arranging the plants on my scanner. I find it soothing to use my 17 year-old Photoshop to remove dust particles and to play with shadow detail. Thanks to a recent cataract removal and my good bifocals I see very well.
I do not play golf. But scanning is a soothing activity (if not a sport). I have fun doing it. It is no longer important for me to realize that my scans (with dates) are accurate botanical representations of species roses, species hydrangeas and other plants) could be used by anyone. I have enough money in the bank that I have no desire (I might have thought differently when I was 35) to try and sell my scans to hotels or other companies.
What is important is that I am enjoying my scanning and when the pandemic is over I will add to that 500 file of undraped women.
Legacy? Before I realized that my Rosemary would go first I told her, “Don’t you dare put a bench in VanDusen or the UBC Botanical garden with my name on it.”
My legacy? Be damned
While I scanned the hosta on 2 July 2021 I am placing this blog back in June because I am trying to fill the many gaps that were caused by my blog writing block caused by my attempting to learn to live alone.