Rebecca Anne Stewart - Twenty Five Years Old
Saturday, August 20, 2022
|Rebecca Anne Stewart 20 August 2022|
My granddaughter Rebecca was 25 on 17 August 2022. We were able to celebrate her birthday on Saturday 20 August 2022. I wish her the best and I hope I will be around when she becomes the success she has in her and that we can soon sip together an Argentine mate.
Friday, August 19, 2022
|Rosa 'The Alexandra Rose' 19 August 2022|
My Rosemary had a distinct interest in names. Before I learned to appreciate a garden I eschewed her insistence in properly calling plants by their botanical names. So I soon learned to appreciate my Rosa sericea omeiensis var. pteracantha and blurt out the name when people would notice the rose and ask me what it was.
Unfortunately for our youngest daughter Hilary we never found plants or anything related to her name. Hilary often tells people when they ask that there is only one l in her name.
An punctilious Martin Dunfy at the Georgia Straight tried to tell me in an essay I had written where I mentioned Hilary that her name should have two ls.
Rosemary, a proto feminist told me she wanted to name our second daughter with an epicene name. By this she meant that it would be up to her to invest her name in the sex of her choice.
With Alexandra (immediately called Ale, pronounced Aleh by her friends in Mexico City in 1971) it has been a bit easier for Rosemary to relate her to plants.
One such plant is the English Rose, Rosa ‘The Alexandra Rose’.
Today 19 August 2022 I noticed this bloom that is a few day s old and so it has lost its subtle shade of yellow/pink. I was struck by the purity of its colour and the first word that came to mind was pristine.
My on-line dictionary of the Spanish Language (RAE) defines pristina rather nicely:
prístino, na Del lat. pristĭnus.
1. adj. Antiguo, primero, primitivo, original.
That translates to ancient, first, primitive, original.
I would state here that my daughter Ale is definitely defined as an original.
Every once in a while with my negative electricity Blogger acts up. I am unable to separate paragraphs or note that the scanned rose should have today's date. As my friend Abraham Rogatnick told me a year before he died, "I am not long for this world and I am glad for it." I would concur.
Mysteriously the Blogger problem disappeared but I will let what Rogatnick told mes stand.
You, my misfortune, inexhaustible and pure
Thursday, August 18, 2022
|left - Rosa 'St.Swithun' & Rosa 'Sombreul' 19 August 2022|
Below is a roundabout explanation why this blog is
illustrated by two roses, Rosa ‘St.Swithun (the slightly pink one) and Rosa ‘Sombreul’.
Every time I see a new bloom with my roses I think first of Rosemary and what
she would say if I pointed it out to her. Then I repeat (sometimes aloud), “Rosamaría”
which is so much sweeter in my native Spanish than in English.
reason for these roses here (St. Swithun has an exquisite fragrance of myrrh
that Rosamaría adored) is that on August 31st, when I will be 80, I
will have memory of those past birthdays in Buenos Aires that more often than
not were rained on because of the famous “tormenta de Santa Rosa de Lima”. The 30th
of August is St. Rose of Lima’s feast day and in my Buenos Aires this day was
synonymous with a storm.
It is not an easy thing to be a widower after having been
with my Rosemary for 52 years. Besides my grief and melancholy there is that
sense of guilt that I might not have been as good to her as she deserved. There
is that guilt that I may not have asked her how she felt about this or that.
There is this guilt that I should have known when it took her 50 years that she
did not like my special cucumber sandwiches. There is this guilt in discovering
almost too late that she shared with me an interest in the arts.
And there is this guilt that I never connected her name
Rosamaría to either the lore of the Virgin Mary or of my grandmother saying her
Rosary. It is very difficult to remove from one’s system a thorough Roman
Catholic education. In the end, before her last breath she looked at me and we
both knew we would never see each other again.
But there is one sense of guilt of which I can be relieved.
And this is all about the origin of her name thanks to Google.
Rosemary is a
girl's name from the Latin Rosmarinus, meaning "dew of the sea."
Rosemary is a combination of the names Rose and Mary in English and shares its
name with the fragrant herb Rosmarinus officinalis, the emblem of remembrance.
Jorge Luís Borges (my favourite writer/poet) was often accused
of not having a more active relation to women as did Julio Cortázar. The poem
below is ample proof that he was a romantic.
ENAMORADO – Jorge Luís Borges
marfiles, instrumentos, rosas,
y la línea de Durero,
nueve cifras y el cambiante cero,
fingir que existen esas cosas.
fingir que en el pasado fueron
y Roma y que una arena
midió la suerte de la almena
siglos de hierro deshicieron.
fingir las armas y la pira
epopeya y los pesados mares
de la tierra los pilares.
fingir que hay otros. Es mentira.
eres. Tú, mi desventura
ventura, inagotable y pura.
The Lover – Jorge Luís Borges
Moons, ivories, instruments, roses,
lamps and the line of Dürer,
the nine figures and the variable zero,
I shall pretend that these things exist.
I shall pretend that in the past they were
Persepolis and Rome and that fine
sand measured the fate of the crenel
that the centuries of iron undid.
I shall pretend the arms and the pyre
of the epic and the heavy seas
that gnaw from the pillars of the Earth.
I shall pretend there are others. It’s a lie.
Only you are. You, my misfortune
and my fortune, inexhaustible and pure.
Esperanza de la Vida
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
|Rosa 'Darcey Bussell' 17 August 2022|
esperanza le pertenece a la vida, es la vida misma defendiéndose. Julio
Cortázar – Rayuela
Life owns hope; it is life itself defending itself.
When I saw this sequence in the English Rose, Rosa ‘Darcy
Bussell’ I instantly thought of a lifespan. Somehow Google translates lifespan
into esperanza de la vida in Spanish. This translation is much more poetic and
ever romantic as it translates to “hope in life”.
My friend Abraham Rogatnick (27 November 1923 - 28 August
2009) was 86 when he died. A year before, he gave me a lovely almost lifesize
Mexican papier-mâché skeleton that I named Pancho. He told me he was not going
to need it as he was going to die. He was pulling the plug on his
prostate cancer treatment.
|Rebecca & Lauren with Pancho|
But he told me something that has stayed with me and somehow
it comes to mind every day now. He said, “I am not long for this world and I am
glad for it.”
After having lived with Rosemary a shared life for 52 years
and since she died on December 9 2020 I have discovered few important reasons
for wanting to stay alive. If I die today there is enough money in the bank
that my two daughters will not have to worry about financial matters ever. Thus
dying would take me away from my present existential angst and everybody would
be just fine.
But there is something that keeps me going every day. It is
not writing this blog or scanning (a present obsession) my garden plants. It is
not eating as I have been losing my taste so I make the motions of eating but I
do enjoy my hot Mexican food.
If I were to die today there would be nobody to take care of
my Niño and Niña. Hilary has an aggressive cat in her home in Burnaby and Ale
has three cats in Lillooet and I would doubt that Niña would adapt. The idea
that my daughters might return Niño and Niña to the SPCA breaks my heart.
And so I wonder what Abraham Rogatnick would have told me
had he owned a pair of loving, clingy, brother and sister cats.
My friend, Andy Marlow, head of the Minneapolis Hosta
Society came to Vancouver last week with his wife and daughter Emily. Emily
enjoyed my two cats and I asked her if she had any. Her answer was profound, “I
don’t want cats because they die.”
And That White Sustenance
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
|Rosa 'Sombreuil' 15 August 2022|
Tonight August 15, 2022 I was ready to go to sleep. Niño
and Niña were waiting for me on the bed. I went to the garden to close the gate
when I saw this bloom of an OGR (Old Garden Rose) Rosa ‘Sombreuil’:
A charming and
refined climber. Flat, quartered, creamy white rosettes tinged with pink.
Delicious Tea scent. Repeats well. Robert, 1850.
Such was its perfection that I decided that even though
it was late I had to scan it. When I did, I thought that perfection is something
that can never be attained. I could have corrected the little nick
on that lower leaf, I chose not to by either using Photoshop or cutting another leaf without a nick.
I then decided to look for an Emily Dickinson poem on the
colour white and found two!
Can perfection of something have more than one version? I
will place here three versions of the same scan. One is a vertical and the
other two are horizontal but in opposite directions. Which is the one that is
closest to perfection?
As a magazine photographer I have always been aware of
vertical and horizontal. It was sometime around 1978 that I showed Vancouver
Magazine art director Rick Staehling my brand new camera, a medium format 6x7 cm film size Mamiya RB-67 camera that
had an unusual feature. The film back revolved so I could shoot vertical
pictures and or horizontal ones. Within two weeks Staehling called me and asked
me if I could shoot an assignment with my new camera on steroids (it is big). I
did and made sure to take my pictures (I believe they were chef portraits) in
both vertical and horizontal. Both Staehling and I immediately figured out that
the verticals could be full bleed (the whole page) of a vertical magazine page
while the horizontals fit nicely as two page spreads. I believe that my
photographic career prospered because of that vertical/horizontal feature.
Photographers with more expensive Hasselblads (square format of 6x6cm) had to
suffer art director crops of their photographs.
The White Heat- Emily Dickinson
Dare you see a soul at the white heat? Then crouch within
the door. Red is the fire's common tint; But when the vivid ore
Has sated flame's conditions,
Its quivering substance plays
Without a color but the light
Of unanointed blaze.
Least village boasts its blacksmith,
Whose anvil's even din
Stands symbol for the finer forge
That soundless tugs within,
Refining these impatient ores
With hammer and with blaze,
Until the designated light
Repudiate the forge.
I cannot live with you – Emily Dickinson
I cannot live with You –
It would be Life –
And Life is over there –
Behind the Shelf
The Sexton keeps the Key to –
Our Life – His Porcelain –
Like a Cup –
Discarded of the Housewife –
Quaint – or Broke –
A newer Sevres pleases –
Old Ones crack –
I could not die – with You –
For One must wait
To shut the Other's Gaze down –
You – could not –
And I – could I stand by
And see You – freeze –
Without my Right of Frost –
Nor could I rise – with You –
Because Your Face
Would put out Jesus' –
That New Grace
Glow plain – and foreign
On my homesick Eye –
Except that You than He
Shone closer by –
They'd judge Us – How –
For You – served Heaven – You know,
Or sought to –
I could not –
Because You saturated Sight –
And I had no more Eyes
For sordid excellence
And were You lost, I would be –
Though My Name
On the Heavenly fame –
And were You – saved –
And I – condemned to be
Where You were not –
That self – were Hell to Me –
So We must meet apart –
You there – I – here –
With just the Door ajar
That Oceans are – and Prayer –
And that White Sustenance –
More Emily Dickinson
I tried to be a rose
nature rarer uses yellow
Nor would I be a poet
November left then clambered up
You cannot make remembrance grow
the maple wears a gayer scarf