Gratitude Sunday: Planting Aunt Ruth

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.


Sunday Haiku
Lacey clouds upon
a blue faded sky drift on
soft whims of sweet wind.

Sunday Musings
The hubster’s Aunt Ruth’s cremains have lived with us for several months since we found she’d been languishing on a mortuary shelf unclaimed these last seven years since her death. We brought her home when we found her, in a little box done up with crisp white paper and gold end seals, her name printed on the front, her official numbered tag taped to the bottom. She had intended to be buried next to the high school sweetheart she’d married and spent her life with and this was our mission for this Good Friday.


Friday’s morning was clear and warmish. None of us had to work that day and we had a casual morning before we set out for our journey to Rainier, Oregon about 40 miles from our home. The cemetery sexton expected us at 1:30.

It was a wild drive up. The hubster insisted he knew the road, and he did. He knew the old road, which took us many more miles and minutes than had he taken the new road. The old road is full of 10 mile an hour corners, hairpin turns, and narrow logging roads with precipitous straight down cliffs two inches from the edge of the road. For my sake the hubster held back and did not drive full tilt boogie on these old narrow roads, and well he did, as I was queasy from a bit of motion sickness. It would not have done well at all to get sick in the truck. It was a relief when the old road connected up to the new road. Thankfully, we took the new road all the way back, both the son and I telling the hubster not to take the old road cutoff.

The variety of country properties we passed was entertaining in its own right. Palatial log homes, mini-mansions, and manicured properties lie next to mouldering trailer houses, tiny rotten wooden shacks, abandoned homesteads, and little, tidy, well-cared for cottages. Ancient houses and barns going back to nature eaten by moss, ivy, blackberry bushes, and rotting from Oregon rain would surprise with patches of daffodils growing where the front porch had been. Overgrown yards gave way to untrimmed pioneer apple and cherry trees in full cascading white and pink bloom contrasting with the pervasive green, brown, gray of the Oregon forest; lilacs bloomed along faltering invisible fence lines.

Thick green moss covered old growth trees growing from swamps wildly blooming with skunk cabbage give the forest a haunted mystical feeling. The Nehalem River, bespeckled with glinting sunlight, was lazy beside us, sometimes at road level sometimes below the road a bit. The river called not so quietly to the hubster who bemoaned the lack of this year’s fishing license, nor fishing gear in the truck.

We passed through the quaint little town of Vernonia, so pridefully cared for. It’s been so many years since I’ve been through here and it was wonderful to see the tiny tidy shops and restaurants lining the highway. The residents have worked hard to restore the damage done by the most recent flood of 2007. I think I need to take a day and drive out there and poke around. I noticed they have a museum as well. Sounds like my speed. Slow and leisurely. I’ll take the new road.

We arrived ahead of schedule. Good thing we had left early with the slow country roads. We got behind only one crazy country driver: a big white pick-up truck with a trailer, loaded with another rusty truck; he was all over both lanes as if there was only one lane and he was the only driver in the world. We gave him lots of room in case the load or the trailer came loose. Most of the trip we had vehicles neither in front of nor behind us, a nice bubble of safety.

The sexton was ready for us, having most of the paperwork in order and the site prepared. The hubster had told him it was to be a simple placement with no service. It all went very quickly. The pretty white box had to be undone and the plastic bag with Aunt Ruth’s cremains were placed into a hard plastic urn along with the little round silver numbered tag that proves she was legally and properly cremated and now inurned.

The headstone had been placed when her husband had died and been buried. I had a good stiff brush to clean the headstone with, brushing white and gray lichens away along with tiny patches of green moss to prepare the stone for the engraver who will take a rubbing of the stone to match the font for adding the final death date. Aunt Ruth is now at rest forever by the side of her beloved husband Melvin.


I had met her only a few times and would have liked to have known her better, but the hubster’s mother made sure a further relationship was not possible. The hubster was fortunate to know Aunt Ruth when he was a child and I think she loved him very much as she had no children of her own.

The hubster placed the urn into the prepared hole in the earth in the shadow of the headstone. And with that he was done. The hubster and the son returned to the car. They did not wish to hear my words as they knew it would bring my tears; they don’t deal with my emotions well, but I wasn’t done. I had a few words to say since she had nobody else to say for her. And I told her I would miss her. When I was done with my words, still shedding tears, the sexton kindly asked if I would like to put some earth on her. I gratefully scooped three trowels full of earth from the bucket he provided onto the small tightly sealed urn and said my goodbyes.

My words? Of course. I prefer the archaic language, invoking the ritual and fuller power of the words. And this, then, is how ye shall pray.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.

Have a lovely Easter.

Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – the drive through the woods Friday brought sightings (but no pictures at 45 miles an hour) of many wild colors: rich yellow skunk cabbage; masses of sweet pink huckleberry blossoms on large overgrown bushes; bright yellow naturalized Oregon grape; white blackberry blossoms; Scotch broom; flowering quince in abandoned yards.

Oregon spring, at least in the Portland Metro area, is so brazen, it could be arrested for indecent exposure. In my neighborhoods I’ve been watching the dogwoods which opened finally on Friday, rich creamy white and dark woody pink – such an individual shade of pink, salmonish? – they have their own particular earthy fragrance;DSCN3704DSCN3734DSCN3703 the neighbor who owns this white dogwood has a stained glass window picturing white dogwood to match his tree; he salvaged the window from an old house that was being destroyed and installed the window in his front entry, you can barely see the corner of the window in this photo;DSCN3675 the first brilliant red poppies of the season and the first bright yellow day lily;DSCN3677DSCN3680 mystical moments with tree, moss, and blue bells; DSCN3666and fence with blue bells;DSCN3667 pink and white allysum;DSCN3708 a yellow green blossoming ground cover I imagine is allysum, as well;DSCN3694 unidentified tree looks like what I call a mulberry color from afar and gentles pinkly close up;DSCN3688 yellow-green new leaves on a Japanese maple;DSCN3715 a quadruplet narcissus;DSCN3721 purple azalea;DSCN3758 bright yellow potentilla;DSCN3743 sweetly scented white blossoming tree I suspect is a decorative fruit tree, probably hawthorn;DSCN3728a pale pink rhododendron; DSCN3710 a brightly dark pink blossoming tree, maybe a decorative plum; DSCN3696 decorative and edible strawberry blossoms (yes, yes, yes! June fruit!);DSCN3748DSCN3754DSCN3774 pretty white spires;DSCN3770 a neighbor’s blueberry blossoms promises summer bounty;DSCN3761 a lone bearded iris;DSCN3787 and the lilacs have come, the white seem barely like lilacs,DSCN3779 I love the very dark purple; this bush came from a lilac my paternal grandmother brought with her from the family home in Idaho.DSCN3781DSCN3785

Currently Reading – Whole-Body Dentistry: A Complete Guide to Understanding the Impact of Dentistry on Total Health (2011, holistic medicine) by Mark A. Breiner; Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution (2012, cannabis economics and politics) by Doug Fine; My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and The Search for Peace of Mind (2014, clinical psychology) by Scott Stossel. Yes, concurrently. Check out my From Me 2 U Book Review page.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Lilacs. My daddy always said when the lilacs bloom it’s time to plant your garden.
  • Having the money to have the truck’s transmission serviced before our driving adventure Friday. Feeling a little safer for having it done.
  • Lilacs.
  • A safe driving adventure Friday.
  • Lilacs.
  • Sharing a meal out with my guys. Though it was only fast food, we haven’t actually sat down to eat together in ages with the three of us going different directions these days.
  • Lilacs.
  • Getting to see a free lecture by Angela Davis, Black Panther activist in the 1960s and 1970s and retired UC Santa Cruz professor, at the University walking distance from my house. Feeling inspired the revolution is still to come.
  • Lilacs.
  • To behave as if and sound as if revolution is possible.
  • Lilacs.
  • Mister Kitty, aka George Murphy, left outside on the lovely day of our adventure, greeting us with stretches, and mreows, and running in the door before us. Pretty sure he was hungry.
  • Lilacs.
  • 5 and a half years until retirement.
  • Lilacs.
  • Watching the neighbor children run out of their house dressed in their Easter best, baskets in hand, yelling, “We’re going to Easter!”
  • Lilacs.
  • Words. Archaic and otherwise.
  • Oh. And did I say…LILACS!
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.


Ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Family, GRATITUDE, Health, Obituary, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Planting Aunt Ruth

  1. Jenna says:

    Hehe I am thankful for lilacs also. A great list. Have a good week 🙂


  2. Pingback: The Legacy of Aunt Ruth: Or How I Was Finally Released From Student Loan Hell | Sassy Kas

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