Pink Moments

Connie Spittler, USA

Essayist and poet, Connie wrote & produced the Wise Women videos, selected for Harvard University’s Library on the History of Women in America.

(Submitted by the author)

The Southwestern artist Georgia O’Keeffe said, “It’s my mountain. God told me if I painted it often enough, I could have it.”

Now in Tucson, Arizona, I gaze at the Catalina Mountains. Today, dark peaks nine thousand feet high rise up and over the cloud strings that wind through the crannies, leading to our personal Shangri La.

In 1540, the Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado and his expedition trekked through Arizona from Mexico in search of Seven Golden Cities of Gold. They didn’t find the cities, but instead, discovered the Catalina Range.

I look to the mountains, to their heights and ancient shapes. By living beneath their aged wisdom, rock energy invades my soul. My bloodstream absorbs it, as does the beating of my heart. When my husband developed cancer, I told the mountain. When my children have troubles, I take it to the craggy mountaintops. When I am worried, they help me reach deep into my body to breathe.

The "pink moment"
Years ago, like dragonflies, my husband and I lit in a small plane in Ojai, California. At dusk in this town, the residents celebrate their own mountain range, the Topatopas. The “pink moment”, they call it. Townsfolk stop and watch the sun’s dying shafts light up the peaks with pink and lavender. We were told this rite came from the peoples of the Himalayas. Now, often in Tucson, we do the same, knowing that folks in distant places celebrate the same sun and same sunset, like dominoes tripling over around the globe, from one time zone to another. Our Catalinas glow with fragments of rosy light and peaceful intentions too. In that brief instant of time, we accept the reflective color as a brief blessing, soon to fade into evening.

Changing Georgia O’Keefe’s idea a bit, if a person watches the mountain long enough, don’t they own it too? Just like the sunset or the purple leaf cabbages that once bloomed like roses in our garden. They remain still ours in memory. An olive tree we planted grew inch by inch with our children, then left them far behind. A hummingbird’s nest floated in the tendrils of our porch vine before the wind swept it away. When I revisit these simple gifts of nature, I own them. Seen through an inner eye, they are stored away forever in my personal vision vault.

Storing up the beauty that surrounds us
My Mother in her 90s is now blind. I grieve for that and hope her inner eye remembers mountains, sunsets and birds’ nests. Her situation pushes me to gently remind others to store up the beauty that surrounds us. One never knows about tomorrow. I look at the Catalinas and believe I own this set of peaks just as surely as Georgia O’K owned hers. For now, I hold the image of my pink moment close. Georgia O’Keeffe had her mountains. I have mine.

Image credit: Glenn Seplak. http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]

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