There is one French door in my dining room dressed in a faux white wooden blind that takes me out to my sanctuary. As I open this door, my heart pitter-pats. I never quite know what I’ll find outside, but whatever prevails will calm and nurture me. My sanctuary is an outdoor balcony that brings in sunshine and heat, wind and rain, nighttime darkness, and the flora and fauna of central Texas.
Being outdoors is pure meditation, but there are a few decorative items my eyes focus on when I sit on my balcony. The first is the Welcome cat sign that my mother brought from Michigan to put in our yard. When the gift was given she thought it was a big mistake since my husband and I were no longer home owners. She had forgotten how our move to Austin was to a luxury apartment, but that just made the gift extra special. It’s been balcony decor for a long time as its base rests on the pavement with support from a sidewall. It looks great standing behind the Santucci slate propped against it. The Santucci slate is another special ornament as it was a house warming gift from a college friend but the balcony trinkets that remind me of my parents mean more to me than the slate.
My parents are no longer living, but their presence is with me, especially on that balcony, in my sanctuary. There is one more object that makes me think of them. It is a wind-chime. This was a gift from a teacher friend when my mother passed. It has a beautiful ring and a telling proverb or scripture engraved into its wooden pendulum. When I received that gift, I packaged it up quickly and mailed it to my father in Michigan who had recently moved into a one bedroom apartment, without my mom, at Fox Run a senior living complex. It was for his new lifestyle, which we called Lifestyle C after having lived as a winter Texan with my mom: Lifestyle B.
I, again, have ownership of the wind chime as it’s been about a year since my dad passed. He didn’t die of Covid 19, but I do think the virus accelerated his aging. Being in quarantine, isolated, and with no weekly visits from family (a devoted daughter who still lived in Michigan) played a significant toll on his deteriorating health.
I did not travel to Michigan for my father’s funeral, but I did go out on my balcony at the time it was held and listened to Mozart’s Eine Klein’s Nachtmusik, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto, and Mendelssohn’s “Lift Thine Eyes” from Elijah on You Tube. You see, my dad was a musician. My sisters and my dad played and sang these pieces in our family quartet. On the day of his funeral, I ended my balcony stay and listened to “Taps” with tears in my eyes. My dad was a veteran and “Taps” was played at his burial at Great Lakes National Cemetery.
The first anniversary of my father’s death is right around the corner, and I know I’ll go out on the balcony that day.