welcome to december, and the one-hundred-and-sixteenth day of my blog. today i would like to thank my mom, for being the hard-ass she was, for always pushing me to be better, for being that voice in the back of my head that kicks me in the ass and says "keep going". she's the reason i started this whole thing in the first place, and what's wonderful is that it has a way of keeping our relationship alive in spite of her absence. so for all the times it's hard to do, and i don't want to continue, her voice tells me it's worth it.
because life is hard. sometimes you can't see what it is all for. you need encouragement. life is hard in its own ways, for everyone. struggles are individual, yet we all struggle together. in unison. but life is also good. it is so good. it is more good than you or me can even comprehend. and without the difficulties, the beauty is harder to see. it is the contrast that makes the beauty so clear. darker darks, lighter lights. the advice about contrast my mom used to give me when scrutinizing my artwork became so much more about life after she died, so much so that i got the tattoo in cursive on my wrists.
you know, it's kind of like this fledgling starling. many consider starlings pestilent. they frown at the fact the james and i allow starlings to nest in a hole in our building. because they're everywhere. and they eat all the berries. but you can't deny their beauty. they flock together by the thousands and dance in dense churning clouds above the fields, then line up solid by the thousands on the power lines. they are a magical phenomenon. and every year, when the nesting starling has a litter, i can hear everything through the wall. i hear them being born, i can hear them excitedly calling for food, i can hear their wings rustling as they grow feathers, i hear them grow up in the wall while i'm working all the while. this is a source of joy for me. i remember sitting with gunther on the curb outside, the summer before he disappeared: him with camera, watching the parents fly to and fro with grub, meeting the young with heads expectantly poking from the hole. "i'm no good at nature photography", he said. which i knew was untrue. he was a photographer of human nature. so we sat there for a long time, trying to get the perfect shot, the shutter clicking incessantly as the starlings performed their parental duties. it was beautiful. and i wouldn't trade that moment for a million berries.