This week's Legacy post is by my friend Gillian da Silva. You know how some people make you feel like everything's gonna be just fine, even on the crummiest of days? Gillian is definitely one of those people. It's not that she sugar coats life-- far from it--but every time I visit Gillian's blog, The Dreaming Press, I come away with an inspiring thought, a bit more strength, or an idea for a cool new project. She is a true renaissance woman: wife, mom, career woman, world traveler, cook, reader, writer, photographer, and so much more. She revels in life and all its possibilities, and I am honored to have her visiting The Magpie's Fancy today.
I’ve given much thought to legacy; and what it means to me personally. When Gigi asked me to write on this subject I was overwhelmed with ideas. I have many ideologies regarding legacy.
To me it is an inheritance, something that whispers to me from the past like a seasoned chipped teacup that belonged to my beloved Grandmother, or a woollen blanket that has been passed down through the generations. For me and perhaps others, it could be the gift of a story; such as an ancestral journey to settle down unknowingly in new lands to carve out a future existence for their families.
We each hold a legacy unto ourselves too. All of us carry our histories deep within our cells that we willingly--and sometimes not so--hold out like a candlelight beacon to guide us in darker, more trying times. We fall back on our legacies, like paths well trod, to see wherefore we have walked and to which place we’ll venture next.
Currently I’m reading Keats, and enjoying all he has poeticized us with. I was breathless upon hearing that this gentleman, who was a mere 26 at his death, asked if his gravestone could read, ‘Here lies one whose name was writ in water.’ I hope upon my advancement from this planet that I could have so eloquently expressed my own thoughts into a touching sentence so absolute. Keats’ legacy is born of wisdom, persistence, and a willingness to buck the trend. I love that he pursued poetry despite the safe road of a career in medicine at his disposal. How many of us can say we lived our legacy to the extreme? Took the narrow road?
My legacy cup is filled to the brim with the legacies of my predecessors; my sweet mother and her love of autumn, my father with his oil paints and endless mountains on canvas, my brother and his hard work, love of family, and good sense of humour. It flows over with grandmother’s infectious giggles, chicken soup and wide smiles that reached all the way up to her eyes. It spills outwardly of kindness and love, of comforting meals prepared slowly and with care, with sunshiny bursts of happiness that are graced upon me by my dog-who is a divine creature in her own right and has taught me that animals feel, love, think and dream. It is a retreat that fills my head with silence and solitude whenever I call upon it…the legacy of me is comprised of every other legacy that has ever touched me.
My personal legacy is infinite in scope; magnificent in stature. I’m taking the narrow road. I want my heart and spirit to be filled up to capacity with a bountiful legacy harvest that future generations of my family and friends can look to, when they need a guide--the way I’ve sought the aid of those near and dear to me. It is a love of art in all its forms; the written word, the painted canvas, the photograph that speaks to your deepest longings. It is morning light on forest leaves. It is steaming coffee and a newspaper. It is a Dylan album and a stack of magazines. It is a lingering browse through the used book store. But it has a future too, my legacy. May it be replete with walks on the beach, happy well adjusted children, swims in lakes of poetry, letters and thank yous of gratitude, rich hot meals on leafy front porches, burgundy wine in deep round glasses, a hug to lift the spirits, a dream on herbal pillows aloft with the grandest of imaginings? May it be a ship that sets sail on high seas for the sake of the sail itself? Legacies are lofty and bold creatures; create yours with the purest of intentions and then and surely then you shall bequeath the most intrepid, courageous and valiant ideas to fill the cups of others. To quote Keats in one of his letters to Benjamin Bailey, 22 Nov. 1817- ‘O for a Life of Sensations rather than Thoughts!’ Well done, John. And thank you for your legacy.