I "met" Kathy through the same penpal site that brought me Karen. We knew each other for many years and met up in NYC a number of years ago.
Like me, Kathy was a librarian. She was dedicated and enthusiastic and a keen reader.
She was devoted to her family and to her fiance. She was a talented photographer and artist and had a wonderful way with words. You can see this on her blog (she is KAYCEE in my sidebar).
She never said a harsh word about another person.
She never told me how ill she was. Brave and very private, she fought her battle without inviting sympathy.
In her last email to me she wrote "I treasure our friendship".
I have been re-reading her blog and here is one of my favourite posts, accompanied by a photo of a snow covered garden chair. It says more about Kathy than I ever could, in better words than I could ever find...
I have always taken time to ponder the passing of an entire year as well as the beginning of a new era. As a child, I would wonder about such things as past news stories that I heard about in my parents' world of the late 1960's through the mid 1970's: US astronauts landing on the moon, the end of the Vietnam War, and the resignation of Nixon. I wondered about the world outside of my small town, even though I didn't have a clue what Watergate was all about at the time. Of course, I was thankful for blessings in my life such as the birth of my siblings, family celebrations and spending time with friends.
Imagine, if you will, this pony-tailed ten-year old taking time to look at life this way. I can still remember going over the past year, even at this young age, and thinking that there must be a better way to live life in the new year. It was then that I knew that doing simple things with great pleasure is a key to a better life. (I still enjoy some of those simple pleasures to this day: reading, cooking, and doing craft projects.)
And so I developed the personal philosophy of viewing the new year as a blank canvas; a canvas waiting to be filled with such activities as learning a new hobby, cooking a new recipe, or discovering a new author. Yes, I realize that it is a simple view of the world, indeed. But I truly believe in the positive energy behind each and every creative act.
Now I am in a contemplative mood as we welcome 2008. This new year began very quietly for me as I spent time with friends and family. This New Year's Day has been snowy and so I am tucked in at home just watching the snow fall. I try to visualize my "internal canvas" as I watch the enormous white flakes enveloping the mighty pines. My canvas, not too surprisingly, remained a glistening white for much of the day. I did not rush to change the canvas scene as I somehow instinctively knew that ideas would come swirly to me as the ground receives its cover from the winter sky.
Slowly, my canvas was painted with hunter green pines that reached majestically towards the late afternoon sky. The gigantic flakes of white gave way to a gentle dusting as the buttery-yellow sun peeked through the opaqueness of the sky. And a barn red Adirondack chair, left over from the autumnal leaf peeping season, was covered in winter splendor.
Somehow, that snow covered chair seemed to inspire me. The chair remains there as the seasons pass and the year turns. Of course, it will need maintenance, but it is still sturdy and ready to serve it purpose over and over again. Purpose. It reminds me to use my talents wisely and make my world, our world, a better place.
No, these simple ideas are nothing new. Henry David Thoreau, one of my favorite American Transcendentalists writers once said, "This world is just a canvas to our imagination." And I do believe that this world would be a more peaceful place if each one of us would look inside and visualize how our own creative canvases can be used to serve ourselves and others.
What do you see when you take some time to look inward at your creative canvas? Do you visualize the same canvas, or has it changed and evolved? Do you start with a blank canvas as the new year arrives or do you add to an existing canvas?
And so I wish you a new year filled with creative endeavors, whatever they may be. Please take time to savor the simple pleasures of life and to embrace the creative side of life! Kathy Caruana
I was very lucky to know her and I'll treasure her memory always. Rest in peace, dear Kathy.