The hardest goodbye

I promise to post happier photos in celebration of my grandma's life soon, but right now I'm still stuck in this moment where I could feel the warmth of her head against mine.

I don't know if you remember the full moon last Thursday (10/5), but I will never forget it. It was bright, crisp and powerful. I hosted a women's circle that night and we talked about coming face-to-face with the obstacles holding us back in life. I didn't yet realize that, at that moment, my grandma was also working to smash past her own obstacles and make it to the other side. 

My grandma was always, ALWAYS, well put together. I have memories of her sitting at her dressing table brushing powder on her face from when I was a small child all the way up through her early 90s. It didn't matter if she had a cello performance that night or was just heading down the stairs for a day at home, she looked radiant.

Even in her final hours, her glamour shined through in ways I'd never noticed before. Studying her ear I realized what an incredible and beautiful instrument it was, the curve and shape completely unique. Because she was so frail, the undeniable power of her heart was also exposed. I watched as it worked to keep her alive and gave her strength to open her eyes as her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren arrived and said their I love yous.

On Saturday (10/7), surrounded by three generations, she very gracefully took her last breaths. I feel so lucky to have had such a close relationship with her and to have been there holding her hand. I know she had a long and full life and was ready to move on to the next journey on her path, but all I want in this moment is more time with her hand in mine.

Heather Brincko
I am a cheater
 

On almost every painting I get stuck or look down and something is definitely missing. That's when I recruit my kids to take over. At first, when they lift the paintbrush, I panic. What if they ruin it??!

 

"Remember, don't tell me to stop, Mom," my daughter says. I take a deep breath, relax, and watch the magic happen. It's always just the spark the painting needed.

 
Southwest Inspriation

I felt like my mind was constantly going "snap, snap, snap" (camera sound) every step I took in Colorado Springs. We hiked Red Rock Canyon , drove through Garden of the Gods, ventured up (it was uphill both ways somehow?) to School Pond Trail in a thunderstorm, and drove around town picking up magical crystals on the way home. Snap, snap, snap. I've obviously been deprived color in Seattle; the green seemed to jump off the red sand. Boundless beauty and inspiration.

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Nest building at Dale's Pothole

I always want to be cool with fishing. I love the process - especially fly fishing. It's a great excuse to get out in beautiful terrain and be quiet. The rhythm of casting is so calming and peaceful - until there is a snag, of course.

At Caverhill Lodge, way the hell up in Canada, I caught a pretty good-sized fish. The hook got stuck in its throat, drawing blood. After struggling to get the hook out, it's rainbow belly glistened in the sun as it rose to the top of the water. My Dad tried to convince me that it was only floating like that temporarily and it would be ok, but I was done. No more fishing for me. 

The beauty of the area was unreal; there was plenty else to do. I'd been wanting to build a human-sized nest all summer. I've been spending a lot of time away from the computer, but did find a few minutes to check out some nest building bird videos on YouTube to get some ideas of where to start.

My Dad and Brother floated out in the lake to fish. I went to work on the shore. I hardly noticed all the knicks and cuts collecting on my legs and hands. This process, like fishing, was meditative, peaceful, and challenging. 

I had completed most of the base when my Dad and brother came in. There had been some concern I might be bored. Ha! 

On each hike the rest of the week, I collected dark moss and carried it back to Dale's pothole to complete the window. 

A bird tutor is probably needed to build a nest that is structurally sound enough to hold a human, but the light moving around through the crossing sticks was incredibly beautiful. A sense of accomplishment washed over. Looking over my shoulder to get one more glimpse, I was happy to leave it there.

 
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