Ellen’s Centennial

My Mom’s centennial was a couple of days ago. That is, she was born 100 years ago. I don’t get to celebrate her birthday with her in person any more, since she’s been gone seven years now, but it is always an auspicious blossomy day full of memories and the sweet sadness of loss. Sweet because I wouldn’t trade that memory of my loss for anything, even though I sure wish she were still around.

The year she died her birthday fell on Easter. This year it fell on the same day I spotted the first pipevine swallowtail butterfly of the season feeding on the blossoms of the weeping cherry where we planted her ashes. The first spotting of that butterfly is an occasion I always nervously await, because I’ve become quite attached to the subsequent explosion of orange polk-dotted caterpillars that hatch from the butterflies’ eggs.

My Muse Group met the day after the birthday,  and we were doing fabric collage. I used Mom’s favorite colors and embedded her jolly face beneath her tree.


Listen in the wind to the sighing of the bush

This is the ancestors breathing

(excerpted from Earth Song, traditional Senegalese poem)

This is. . .the mother who now turns 100 in her realm within the cherry tree

that blossoms in its fullness now and leads us with all our senses

into the territory of ancestors,

the heart realm that she never left.

Shower me with blossoms now

as I feel the depth of love

and loss that never grows old.

I wonder, will I still be smiling when I am 92, the age she was in the picture?



  1. Lovely post! I raise the Pipevines here on Vine Hill and they have been popping out of their chrysalis early this year…about 1 1/2 weeks ago. And the hooded orioles are here early too. Aren’t we blessed to be living in this gorgeous countryside.




  2. Hi Susan
    My Mom would have turned 100 on April 6
    I clearly remember the day we got our mother’s together and how my Mom insisted on helping you get your Mom in and out of the car!
    They were each very important in our lives and I pay homage to the yellow rose bush I planted outside my studio every time I go in or out of it
    I also miss you….you are incredibly active and I love all the nature activities you do…..and all your outdoor sketching and traveling! What energy…I’d love to be with you one of these times…..👏💕😯🙋🏻‍♀️ Judy Markoff


    1. Hey Judy! Sorry it took me so long to respond.THanks for sharing your/our memory of our moms. And how interesting that your mom ‘s 100th centennial is so close to my mom’s. I miss you too and wish you would come sketch with me soon, or just have lunch together. Cheers!


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