It is a rainy, gloomy Canada Day morning, and the only patch of brightness around my house is that of my patio garden. There, on one side, is the potted evergreen I bought at the SPCA garage sale. And it is around the roots of that tree that I am spreading some of dear Oliver’s ashes. The remainder will be given to Oliver’s other mama, Kelly, as she and I decided a few weeks ago. We shared him in life, and he lives on in both our hearts.
It is appropriate that today be the day I return to nature what nature gifted me – for this day is Oliver’s birthday. And it is appropriate that I spread them where they might give that particular evergreen life, for it was while I was working at the SPCA garage sale that Oliver began his final journey. Life and death are intertwined, one a continuum of the other, and so I choose to blend the two in a way that is both symbolic and beneficial – to me, and to the tree.
And so, on this rainy day, I kneel on the ground and gently rake the ashes into the dirt that surrounds the tree – Oliver’s tree. He would like that, for he so loved the outdoors, bouncing around my little yard in his happy, happy way.
Through my open window, the music of pianist Frank Mills trips lightly across the air, appropriately playing his version of The Traveler - "In my heart I think you've always known that someday I'd be leaving......Sail away, sail away, sail away across the ocean."
As I rake the ashes into the soil, my hand cultivator snags on something and emerges with a bright red string attached. I pull it out and discover a small stained glass ornament encrusted with dirt. I wash it off to see the flower that emerges, only one or two sections still retaining their colour but beautiful nonetheless. I give the soil a gift, and it gives one back to me. It shall hang on the tree, for Oliver.
For me, spreading the ashes is symbolic of the cycle of life rather than a need to hang onto what is left of Oliver’s earthly body. That earthly body is gone, but his memory and the joy he brought to me will last forever. I have returned to Nature that which is Nature's to claim. I shall think of him as I enjoy my patio garden this summer, and in winter I will trim the tree with Christmas lights and tasty treats for the birds.
And I will think of my precious boy each time I look at that tree on my patio, a tree that is now called Oliver's tree.
Luv ya, Oliver, and miss ya bunches.
[Belle’s ashes also await spreading. I have yet to decide just where, but I am eyeing a lovely cream coloured rose in a pot on the patio, and thinking it might be an appropriate place for a beautiful princess. ]