Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Legacy V: Inheritance

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. 


  1. What a magnificent post, Gillian. I read it and re-read it to allow the beauty of your words wash over me. When we get right down to it, our legacies aren't things, but rather the joys and sorrows we garnish while we live out our lives.

  2. Beautiful, dear Renaissance Woman! I, too am a Keats fan. And of course, more importantly, a Gillian fan. xoxox

  3. Gigi thank you so much for the invitation to post here, I adore the subject matter!

    Experiential is what legacy means to me...inheritance not in a material sense but in the sense of collected experiences and wisdom.

    The last sentence with the Keats quote said it all for me...'O for a life of sensations...'!

    Thanks for your comments too everyone. xoxo

  4. Absolutely, Gillian, that's just the inheritance I thought you meant. Your post shows it so beautifully. I love that you refer to Keats, because he understood this so well. He's someone I've read, thought about, and taught a lot. In fact, you've inspired me. I need to do a post on his concept of negative capability. I've done one once before, but it's been a long time.

    See, there you go inspiring me again . . . : )

  5. "'O for a Life of Sensations rather than Thoughts!’"...What an inpiring, beautiful way to sum up a lovely post. This post will keep me thinking throughout the night...

  6. Gillian, you need to write a book we can all enjoy, leave us that legacy please. Excellent post, I do adore the sweetness and beauty in Keats. Will make an effort to look more towards his words than to my favorite scoundrels words, Byron and Poe.

  7. Wow! Bravo.
    Makes me question the legacies of my family before me. Not so pretty and dreamy as yours but perhaps I can work on that picture and try to bring forth the beauty.
    As far as my own legacy? That is my own (not that of my family) and it improves and marinates and turns more vintage and beautiful as time goes by. Thanks for the reminder to continue its beauty.

    I re-read what I wrote and I know what I'm saying, but not sure what the heck I actually said. Hopefully you will get out of it that I loved the post and am glad you shared. ;)

  8. Like a pebble thrown into a pond, the ripple effect of your poetic, inspiring, and eloquent words fill my(and undoubtedly many others)cup today with a resolve and determination to 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."-Thank you my treasures friend for you revered words of pure love and inspiration. ~♥

  9. This is so wonderful and inspiring! :) xxoo

  10. Last night, after reading this post, I went directly to bed. I wanted to just let the words soak in...and then I read again this morning. Inheritance is such a gift of beautiful traits that do use and offer daily. A magnificently written post ~ thank you for sharing.

  11. Oh, what a beautiful, beautiful post, Gillian! A veritable visual feast as I read. I think it's fair to say your words speak to us all.
    Thanks so much for introducing us to Gillian, Gigi!

  12. beautiful post, Gillian!
    (waving at Gigi ;)

    one love.

  13. And well done, Gillian. Not only for this post, but for your life well lived.

  14. Have you seen the film Bright Star? It is so so beautiful...sometimes I want to freeze the frame just so I can take in the beauty of the scene, or go back and hear the beautiful phrases of Keats' poetry just one more time.

    Beautiful post on legacy Gillian. There are so many goodies in there, so many things to be grateful for.


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