By Kathryn Stinson

July 3, 2017


A radio interviewer asks an aging mystic, “What will you miss the most when you leave this world?” My mind replies silently, sunlight on moving water, and fills with images: afternoon light glancing off the lake, morning sun on ocean tidepools.

My brother pulls up a highchair and straps in little Frankie, who has just turned one. Over pancakes, Frankie watches me with wide eyes and a rounded lower lip, looking like a baby picture of our mother come to life, though Mom died in 2012. In 2013, I fell asleep one afternoon and woke (so I dreamed) to a phone ringing – a landline, though our home has no service. “Hello?” I answered. Her voice came back gravelly, uncertain, “Kat? …Hi!”

What did she miss the most? The smell of garden dirt? Raw oysters? The sound of crickets under the window?

When I was 24, she remodeled the dining room, took apart the old chandelier, and made its crystal droplets, each a tiny prism, into Christmas ornaments. She shipped them to each of her children, so reminders of dinners together hung on trees in three different cities.

Perhaps reincarnation happens like that. Perhaps consciousness is like water, pouring itself into different forms, and some fragment of Mom’s awareness, having evaporated and coalesced, is sitting across from me, discovering all over again the warm fluffiness of pancakes and sweet stickiness of syrup. Or maybe she is simply a face, peering into a fishbowl, remembering what it felt like to swim.

Comments (14) - Post a Comment
Haunting. I loved it.
Claudia Geagab at 8:43am EDT - July 3, 2017
The chandelier detail is lovely & perfect... and the turn of though to maybe that is how reincarnation happens... love that switch from an physical object to an idea.
Andrea at 8:46am EDT - July 3, 2017
This piece is an absolute treasure and very skillfully done. Thanks so much for sharing. It will stay with me.
Virginia Boudreau at 9:10am EDT - July 3, 2017
Thank you for this.
Jan Priddy at 9:39am EDT - July 3, 2017
I love love love this! Your imagery is so beautiful.
McCollonough at 9:44am EDT - July 3, 2017
After spending much of Sunday going through family newspaper clippings and a related bout of missing my mother, this piece was the perfect balm. Thank you.
Britton Minor at 11:42am EDT - July 3, 2017
What a sweet description of memories and the simple pleasures of life, Kathryn. Well done.
Sara at 3:00pm EDT - July 3, 2017
That was exquisite.
Lisa Romeo at 3:10pm EDT - July 3, 2017
This is so beautiful. What wonderful possibilities it suggests. Thank you.
Patricia Mannix at 8:38pm EDT - July 3, 2017
Beautifully haunting...and colorfully detailed.
Pierre Love at 2:00am EDT - July 4, 2017
Lovely piece. Thank you!
Mary Bernier at 12:49pm EDT - July 4, 2017
Stunning imagery, sweetly presented like memory.
Anne Pinkerton at 3:39pm EDT - July 6, 2017
salvatore cassisi at 3:56pm EDT - July 18, 2017
This brings to mind traditions, our need to carry on with a piece of those we love.
Angie at 1:27pm EDT - August 18, 2017

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