Wednesday, 28 August 2013

And the leaves that are green turn to brown



Death has been on my mind this week.

There's a catchy opener...




A friend's mother died recently, followed only a matter of weeks later by his father.
He dropped off some of his mum's 1960-70s costume jewellery which he thought I might like, and a little 1960s Pyrex dish.




We were talking about losing parents. He said that he used to see himself as a buffer between the generations, his parents at one end of life's spectrum and his kids at the other, while he was firmly planted in the middle.

And now, the space at the far end is empty, and waiting to be filled by... us. 

A sobering thought.

My mum, who is 89, has observed that she is forever attending funerals, as her peers (and younger folk) die. She recently felt very sad about the death of a favourite cousin, having already lost all of her four brothers. She feels as though she is the last one left.





1960s California maxi dress - vintage shop
Sandals - retail (sale)
Bangles - charity shopped
1960s pendant - from my friend's mum's collection






I have no great insights to offer. The shifting along of the generations is inevitable.





We headed out to Derbyshire today for a walk and a picnic. 

I particularly wanted to go to Burbage plantation, where my dearest friend Carol's ashes were scattered when she died 13 years ago.

It's not as maudlin as it sounds, it's a fabulous walk and a gorgeous little spot by a stream, where we had a picnic.




I was very thankful to be there. On so many levels.



The Three Billy Goats Gruff aren't too grown up to enjoy a game of Pooh Sticks.

Mixing up my stories, I know, but can't you just imagine a troll living under that bridge?





 I've just found out, via this link, that these conifers, planted in the late 1960s/early 70s, are not thriving, and the plantation is due to be removed, starting next month. Some of the area will revert to moorland, and there will be some replanting of native trees like oak and birch.





Which is fine with me, but how lucky that we went to visit today; if I had waited, I wouldn't have recognised it.

As it is, I enjoyed a quiet moment or two with my memories of my gorgeous friend.







Then onward - up the hill to Carl Wark, remains of an Iron Age fort. Walking in the footsteps of folk who lived over 2000 years ago is pretty amazing.










Seldom Seen looks better in that hat than I do, damn it.




Iron Age Boy surveys his land.



Great swathes of heather grow all across the moors.



Then down through Padley Gorge, which the kids think is so-called because of the fine paddling opportunities.



See?





 





 I'll be taking my hat to Judith's next Hat Attack link-up.


 



And I'll be around to keep in touch with my here-and-now friends, and their blogs, while cherishing my fond memories of those who have gone.

xxxxx

59 comments:

Louise McDonagh said...

Quite a solmen blog post, but one that I can completely relate to after having spent a few days visiting graves and elderly relatives and pondering on memories. When you stop and think of how fleeting life is, it makes you realise how important each and every day is. Xx

Emma Kate at Painted Style said...

Aw Curtise. I can sympathise. I got all upset in Church on sun as a friends mother gazed lovingly at her grand daughter. My mum died weeks before my daughter was born. But I pulled myself together and focussed on the fact that my daughter has two Grandads who adore her. We have to be grateful for those we have and that we were touched by those we no longer have. Our departed loved ones wouldn't want us to be sad.

Emma Kate at Painted Style said...

Sorry, forgot the xxxx

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Dear Curtise, what a moving and exquisitely present post in all its perspectives of beauty, generosity, sadness, and gratitude. You are divine in that dress and gifted treasures, and you capture the eternal and ephemeral natures of life and place so perfectly. Your leaping, contemplating, lounging, and surveying billygoats are lovely. Glad you got a turn with that hat before Seldom Seen was seen to be so very dashing in it - first bow ties, now hats, what next??? Much love to you and yours, xoxo

Vintage Coconut said...

I never like to think about death (Who does?) But obviously it is something that is inevitable. I guess that's why we have to live the life we are given as best and great as we can and really make it count. :)
It was lovely of your friend to gift you those lovely items. Obviously they went to the perfect home.
The pics on this post are gorgeous Carl Wark looks absolutely breathtaking!

Brooke F said...

That's all we can do I guess - love our special ones while we have them and remember them in our hearts forever when they leave us.
I work in aged care and unfortunately experience waaaaay too much death, and I still can't even think about losing my special people. What a beautiful day out with your family. Your ramble looks stunning. XXX

Fiona said...

A poignant post Curtise. Hardly an hour goes past without me thinking of Mum for some reason or other, can empathise completely with Emma Kate. I recall my lovely Auntie Jean who in her 80's said that she went to a funeral on almost a weekly basis, usually an 'old dear' which always made us laugh as she was often older than them. How thoughtful of your friend to give you his mother's jewellery, I love the locket and you can never have too much Pyrex. The LB's look in fine fettle, love the shadow pic of you all. xx

Lucy Nation said...

A very well observed piece of writing if I may say so. You had me with your opening line! Not maudlin at all. At times it does seem as though death is ever present. How thoughtful of your friend to pass on those trinkets of his mums. Lovely pictures the moorland and the heather. I can just see Cathy and Heathcliff writhing around in that. Right part of the country too! Xxx

Miss Magpie said...

Gosh it does seem to be a time for it, a reminder life is for living and not for regrets and to be grateful for having the honour of knowing these wonderful people.

Vix said...

I loved passing on Mum's jewellery after she died, it made things a little easier although I'm still crap at it - both Jon and I are. We've never visited our parents' graves and it's friends who mention anniversaries and stuff.
It must be tremendously hard for your poor Mum.
On a lighter note that California dress is gorgeous and you look beautiful admiring the Derbyshire countryside and the trolls made me laugh out loud - used to love that fairy tale. Seldom Seen does look mighty dapper in your hat!
Carl Walk sounds like an aspiring pop star!
Love ya! xxxxxx

Helga! said...

Seldom Seen does indeed look rather good in your hat!
I adore this frock, it's just beautiful, and hangs so well on that hot bod of yours!
The jewellery is gorgeous and special, such a lovely thing to pass these items onto someone who will enjoy and wear them.
I lost my parents in 2000 and 2001...I don't feel I'll ever get over it, but I'm sort of used to them not being around.....I prefer to think of them on their birthdays rather than death days, and have their ashes in my room. It can be a maudlin subject, but one we could all do with being more open about and comfortable with.
Love you! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Cordelia Earle said...

I love to read your blog, even this sad one! :)

You seem to have a lovely near perfect life (I won't say totally perfect, as I don't think anyone has one of those) I love the clothes you wear and through you and Vix I am slowly changing up my wardrobe, so thanks.

Hugs to you for your friends Mum, it always makes you stop and think when things like that happen, doesn't it?

Cxx

The Small Fabric Of My Life said...

Life is such a bittersweet affair but still so much better than the alternative.

Patti said...

what a thoughtful post, dear Curtise. We are indeed just passing through, and it's good to savor the sun-up.

Your kids are the cutest! xoxo

Angels have Red Hair said...

I agree the shifting of the generations is inevitable ... but why does it have to happen so FAST???
xx

Connie said...

Oh Pooh Sticks! You're really tugging at my heart strings here. My Mom is going through the same thing as yours. We all want to stick around for as long as possible but still it's hard to be one of the last ones left. Love your dress. Love your cute kids. Love you. Love that I'm still here for now.

OP SHOP MAMA said...

Def a good thing to talk about though - it is a fact of life after all...

It's not until one loses someone close that it all becomes clear though..

Lovely maxi. And your friend's mum would be stoked the treasure has gone to someone who'll treasure it..

x

The Style Crone said...

A dear post, honoring those who have passed from our presence and new beginnings, with the Three Billy Goats Gruff already making their mark on the world. You will give your friend's mother's jewelry new life, as you have done today.

I love the sleeves on the maxi that perfectly reflects your hair. And the HAT! Thank you for the sneak preview.

Val Sparkle said...

What a beautiful place to enjoy and to remember a wonderful friend. I don't think it's maudlin to appreciate the depth and the transience of life.

Your pictures are so wonderful! I especially like the kids crossing the bridge. Oh, and your dress is lovely.

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...


It was many years ago my dad (not my biological father, but he was my dad at heart) died of cancer. He was a healthy man. Spent his free time outdoors on the lakes and in the woods. Ate healthy. Almost no alcohol. My mother who are careless about her health every day, and has all lifestyle diseases is still here and I can't even Think about my Life without her. Poetic post and you can go to the Oscars in that dress.




Sheila said...

My friends are all starting to lose their parents - I lost my dad over 15 years ago and have only a few rellies left. It's so strange to contemplate that we ourselves will go through this aging and death - morbidly, I wonder which of my friends will go first.

You look beautiful, Curtise, and how nice to have a memento of your friend's mother.

Carina Rosenholm said...

My grandmother just died a while a go , she kind of Lost the will to live when here oldest friend died , she was the last one left of them all she Said ...
Love the Photos of your'outing' so so beatiful and so are you and your kids!
Xxx

señora Allnut said...

I listen to very similar words recently about "the space at the far end is empty, and waiting to be filled by... us", when speaking with my mom, because we're attending more funerals than weddings these days. But these kind of thoughts make me enjoy every single moment!!
so glad that you've enjoyed your outing, heather looking so pretty and children having a funny time!, and you're gorgeous wearing your fabulous maxi dresses and bijouterie!, love pieces with a story to tell!
besos & fun

Ivy Black said...

Lovely post darling. I find that I ponder death lately...not like I used to do when I was a grim 15 year old but in a matter of fact way that happens when your parents get older I suppose. I don't see my parents as often as I should but when I do I'm always a bit surprised that they are pensioners! In my head they are thirty years younger and they certainly act it! I think it's more to do with looking at the passage of life and indeed preparing to fill that empty space as the generations move along. I actually find it very comforting and not at all miserable. It's lovely that things are passed on like all that lovely jewellery to you.
Love photos of your day out. Speaking of which...a meet up...soon...before winter..xxxxx

edie pop said...

Beautiful post, death is our companion through life (sound like a paradox, but it is).I'm not so good at writing about what this subject means to me, it's probabily to deep for my poor vocabulary.Anyway, I really enjoy your words and the beautiful photos of the overwhelming place you visited with the kids!!
Love xxxxxx

Max said...

ahhh, feeling so homesick! do they still do those chip butties as big as a plate at the grindleford cafe?!
the weird thing about being away is that everyone who passes in england is held almost like in suspended animation in my head. every visit home i get a shock-last time when i saw my grandfathers flat with someone else living in it, all his plants gone from the balcony. and my best friend from schools name on a gravestone.
yes we all have a season don't we and if we don't loose sight of that fact we can live a little more intensely and worry less about the piddly things...

Krista Gassib said...

I love you Curtise! You are a tough girl with a heart of gold! I have heard you talk about losing your friend before and that always stuck with me. This is a beautiful spot to come and reminisce and the picture of you close up that says onward, ain't that the truth. I think sometimes because I don't have kids I get more scared about losing my parents because then I will really be alone. It's all so irrational but so real. I love the mix you have here in this post, it's the good and the bad and that is life!

Tomorrow is a big day for my Dad. I will be right by his side thinking of my strong friend Curtise. Thank you for this!
Xxxxooooo

Harrie Hattie said...

Aww Curtis how sad, a mix of emotions with thought and care, we pass through life so quickly and we should cherish each moment we our loved ones, The Derbyshire countryside looks beautiful, perfect for thinking and I can imagine the billy goats gruff now or even the gruffalo appearing from beneath the bridge. Love and thoughts to you all xxx

thorne garnet said...

you post is sad and beautiful at the same time, just like life.

Sad because someone's Mom dies, but beautiful because of the photos of your children in the awesome countryside. Life and death, one doesn't happen without the other.

Tamera Wolfe said...

Your post echo's my feelings this week. A dear friend is battling terminal pancreatic cancer, my mom's cancer test numbers have gone up, my dad's birthday is coming up and the anniversary of his passing 2 years ago. Time is marching on....

You look lovely as always and your travel photo's brought a smile to my face!

Emalina said...

I sympathise with your Mum, it must be really hard when so many of one's peers have gone. Brings up lots of existential angst about the way of the world and our brief time here. How kind of your friend to give you his Mum's lovely things. The dress is gorgeous on you, and looks very Missoni!

Francie said...

It is a sobering thought to think of friends and relatives who have passed. Also that I wore a dress similar to that one you are wearing when I was in my twenties...it was a new dress then. I love the way you take your kids around to such lovely places and then share them with those of us who will probably never see those places. OMG, am I going to cry? Lovely collection of photos.

Sandra said...

it's a great post Curtise, how timeless the land is, walking paths many have walked 1000's of years ago, death is around us, yet we see evidence of life everywhere I don't think I can even begin to explain it eloquently - my Nan used to have a ball at funeral's (honestly, my lot!)not disrespectfully but she was full of funny stories about the person, my Mum carries this on to a degree, she enjoys the hospitality!! your dress btw is gorgeous, you look gorgeous - loved your selfie too x

Miss Simmonds Says said...

I love the photo of the girls crossing the bridge, what a magical place. There's a lot of faerie folklore in Derbyshire. More beautiful dress, you look rather gorgeous. Wonderful way to celebrate your friend and trips to Iron age forts were very much part of my childhood holidays. xxx

silvergirl said...

I am so sorry to hear about your friend's parents
It seems we are at that stage in life, kind of sucks doesn't it??

Love that dress though!
Brett

Linda Wolf said...

A thoughtful and contemplative post. It's always particularly poignant and sad when a man dies so soon after his wife. My father was one of those men who died within a year of retiring at 55. Losing a parent so early make life a bit surreal.

How wonderful to spend time with your children in that breathtaking countryside; a memorable event indeed.

Lovely dress on you. You wear everything so beautifully.

xxx

Penny-Rose said...

A very poignant post Curtise, sad and sweet at the same time. xx

daiseedeb said...

Thought provoking post. I believe they are around us all the time, and we will see them all again.
Although, that doesn't really offer much comfort most of the time, cuz we miss them so. Sending happy thoughts your way. ; )

d

PinkCheetahVintage said...

I think Autumn coming on brings a sort of natural reflection about the seasons of life... But, it does make you really appreciate the lovely moments. You and the kids are just perfect.

Trees said...

Such beautiful scenery and a beautiful family too!

Diane said...

A topic that i HAVE BEEN GIVING SOME SERIOUS THOUGHT TO here too (having being diagnosed with a dicky ticker and all). I have a friend who turned 60 this year. We had a girly weekend away with all her pals - like we had done for her 50th. On her 50th, all her pals had problems with aging parents. This time, none of them had parents left and they all realised that they are now the older generation. I love the frock - its amazing. I love the photos of your kids, you need to do something with those so they don't disapear when your hard drive goes. And I love the memorabilia that your friend gave you. I'm glad the weather stayed fine for you - its a stunning place up there. xxx

Vicky Hayes said...

I am beginning to see that there can come a time when you don't really want to carry on any more. Looks as if you all had a lovely day out in Derbyshire and you have done your usual job of making me immediately want to go there! Vicky x

Marla Robinson said...

wonderful maxi dress and lovely pictures

Forest City Fashionista said...

While there is a melancholy undertone to this post, it also celebrates life. My mother is my only living relative, and I have no children, so when my Mother passes, it will just be me, and that feels rather disconcerting.

I love the photo of your girls scampering over the bridge, and the closeup shot of you in your hat (without sunglasses). The light is nice, and your shade of lippy is so pretty! That place looks like it could be magic, just like Clare says.

Veshoevius said...

Sobering. No wonder you are so reflective of the beauty and yet inevitable change to come at your friend's final resting place. Magical photos. Not a bad place to spend eternity. I can imagine a troll under that bridge. You do live amidst awe inspiring beauty in your surrounds - what a landscape! And what a wondrous place for kids to grow up.

bonsaimum said...

Life is like a conveyor belt.

CityScape Skybaby said...

I feel like I can really relate to this post Curtise, I've been thinking about the passing of time a lot myself lately, it's something that I just didn't get when I was younger, even as the kind of girl who liked hanging round graveyards and listening to the Smiths, so a bit on the gloomy side! But you just can't get a handle on it until you're old enough to feel the generations shifting along I think. Also I remember historical events felt so distant back then. Something like the Second World War for example, feels much more recent history to me now than it did when I was young, even though it's longer ago now. I'm glad you got to that beautiful place before they cut the trees down, to see it for one last time before it changes, and could sit with happy memories of your friend. Love seeing all the family with you having a great time too, that bridge really does look like a troll could live under it, and I would be awestruck by that ancient fort, I am becoming such a hippy in my old age! xx

Lynn Dylan said...

Very, very sweet post. I mean the sadness part, no -- the shifting of generations, as you say, is indeed inevitable. But just your kind feelings, and the awesome pictures from your picnic with your children. I enjoyed reading all about it. That picture of you looking up at the camera is awesome!!

XOXO
Lynn

Sacramento Amate said...

Your children are sooooooooo grown up, ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
Lovely dress, I specially love the sleeves. They are so perfect.
Wonderful wal, and heather, and you...
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Secret Squirrel said...

A beautifully written post, Curtise. I try to make the very most of time with peopleI love, creating nice memories - and being a bit selective in how (and who with) I spend my time.

It was lovely of your friend to pass on some of his Mum's things to someone who will appreciate them.

Your dress is a stunning pattern. As stunning as the scenery you and your flock were walking through in Derbyshire! Xxx

Tamera Beardsley said...

Curtise... such a poignant and beautifully thought provoking post. One of my very favorite of yours.

~you look smashing in the 60's maxi and hat

~love seeing the family play

~so enjoy seeing the historical settings... that give this post such a rich context.

~ Thanks so for sharing your heart.. and soul.

xoxo

Mrs. D said...

I was just at Vix's and what I said there on a totally unrelated matter, is also applicable here - we have to make each of our days special because we never really know when it's our turn. It doesn't help much with accepting losing our loved ones but I think it helps accepting our own inevitable fate.
The items your friend gave you are very sweet and thoughtful.
That place you went to looks amazing. I'd like to visit such places as well, maybe when I have my driver's license and a car!

The Style Crone said...

Dear Curtise, I know that I've already commented on this post, but I was so happy to see your hat and your beautiful smiling face on my screen this morning. Thank you for linking up with September's Hat Attack.

freckleface said...

I know it is inevitable and unavoidable, but the loss of people is never, ever easy. It was my dad's anniversary in August. 18 years. Unbelievable. I try to always remember the good times. The older I get the more I miss the one's who have gone. Ah...

But so nice to go and remember your friend in that beautiful location and to send her up your lovely smile. And of course your kids are the perfect antidote, being so full of life. I'm glad your friend was able to pass on some bits to you. So much stuff to deal with and it feels nice to give it to someone who will cherish it.

I love you in that maxi dress - stunning. xxxx

Annie said...

I can relate so much to this beautiful post at the moment, Curtise, for a number of reasons. I shall bookmark it to provide comfort when I feel in need.

On a lighter note, that maxi dress is just fabulous. Looks like you had a lovely time with the kids, and with the memories of your friend. Thank you for sharing the day.

Annie xxx

Melanie said...

It's so cool to think that the Earth sucks us all back up again like a great big sponge, generation upon generation, our bits of iron and magnesium and calcium, all absorbed and sifted back into rocks and trees and water. How could we not feel the past as we tread on the surface or feel a hot stone in the sun?
I like this post and it's taken time to comment on it.
Lovely photos of you and your family.

Misfits Vintage said...

Favouritest post ever.

That maxi is the most fabulous maxi in the history of the universe. You must be BURIED in it. And I will dig you up and steal it from your cold, dead hands... I'm a good friend, non?

And those beautiful children on that gorgeous whimsical stone bridge and the Wuthering Heightsy landscape... PROMISE you'll take me there when I come over? PROMISE and I promise not to dig up your corpse.

See? Best friend ever.

Love yer guts, Sarah xxx

Jane George said...

your pictures of your kids by the bridge are gorgeous! loving all of them actually! glad you got to see the place before it changed and hugs for your memories x

Rob Barnsley said...

Hi Curtise, I missed this post at first, so a bit late in commenting. Just now I went for the same song title for a post and then goggling it came up with a photo of you. Glad I did, it's a really lovely blog post and good reading. Glad to be in tune with you. Robert xx