MS. RICHFIELD'S HANDS
A feeling for how I approach life,
is the quality for how I shall be born.
When it comes to lovely hands, living hands, comprehensive old hands, there are no one like Ms. Richfield's hands: Large, bony, white, escaping once from a terrible disease when she was 2 years old; I acknowledge her hands as they are exceeding the talent of growing things. Things—such as bulbs, corns, tubers, strawberries, prunes, apples, raspberries, blackberries and grapes. In the early summer, her hands make them growing in a cool greenhouse, the frameworks of smell and the well-drained humus-rich soil, gives us the delicious welcome to eat all of them. The living pleasure, however, is the well-stocked quality her hands have that the treasure of glowing flowers. Few insight God's given to this unusual touch, leaving nothing but the pure magic popping bulbs in early or late summer or the herbs growing in moist and double sexy scent and the attractive festival feathery.
"There is no magic," she says as she spots a hornworm climbing slowly up along a curled leaves of an apple tree. She takes the hornworm with a handy picker and drops it into a jar of oily water. "There is only one thing. Patience. And I've that for years."
There is the hazard of highly bred cultivars that makes her hands to have such ability to form root initials and to bring the rhododendron leaves to its splendor or the sun-loving flowers or the super camellias along the fences.
One can see her hands seem to test from the seeds, the roots, the bulbils, and the bulblets or feel the cormels and the tubers with extraordinary calm. All under her hands bring life—in which dangerous creatures keep out harm. Gradually her hands become two living organisms, challenging the propagation that somehow has witnessed it for so long.
How long? She can't tell. Maybe it does not make any different. Very few old people want to say it happened long time ago. I must have forgotten, they would say and the mere fact that it had been so long, they must remember how they started.
She takes a root of raspberry as she begins to plant it gently into a server.
Ms. Richfield: "Where is the beginning? There is no such thing. The beginning has nothing to do what we are and what we do. It strikes easily from where it is. The most important is where we'll begin if that chance of getting there has been broken."
However, like Ms. Richfield's hands. It was the beginning of an unsophisticated disease that has to do with the joins that in winter days squeezed her painfully and there was no joke or anything else to bring her deeply moment of life to a mold pleasure -- until this monstrous pain go away. I must say some arthritic nightmare, she says, shaking her head.
In the summer of the Californian weather, on March 18, 1907, this old woman was born. She does not understand why people emphasis too much it as a ritual of the dates they were born, especially when each one of us still have a beginning until we die. Every day is a season, she told me. One that each minute it is growing into "something" more solid or it will be the end of this beginning. One day, this young woman was unable to help her mother in the field or the simple round-to-round house's duty or to plant potatoes into the ground and pick up the eggs from the chicken house. Barely perceptible, unknown what wrong with her hands, day after day, night after night, this aliveness pain with the fear that she had wasted all her prays before God, she set herself out an abyss of wondering. She also tried to look at any site that she could die beautifully, focus nothing else than what she tried so hard to act as a normal kid.
That day was cool. The wind was moldering her body and mind; calm, the praised in every paradox was just a late conversation under the moonlight. Too sticky to God to perceive He was difficult to hear her; all of which end up in her soul that there was nothing wrong with her. She admitted it and the precious mixture of the camp, the pictures of sadness had housed themselves firmly within her, with her hatred or an aversion toward all the things, and she recognized once more that this was another beginning of life.
"Faith created a path and this path creates this enormous expectation," she says, selecting a crown shoot. "In that expectation there was a grave of perception far better than the same attachment of death. I am on such friendly term, including this enfeebled path, and I think, the whole thing is more deep that the memory I have. I ought to say it is my beginning to see and to hold until it comes. This waiting is the most beautiful what we call 'life'".
At first, as a girl, then as a grown woman, defined herself lonely after her mother died in 1944, and without gusto, she received the last destiny of summer spring. Loves came and love goes. There was no baby crying, but a notebook filled of poems from 1945 to 1946. It belongs to her sweetheart. He will tell her among “prune” and “thanks” what much the war had rotten him away and what much he had been in his thoughts away from her. The sentiments, mixing by a healthy eroticism and convertible touch made her to live through these periods of war:
Here, naked, laying on this rocky bed,
Watching the moon, drinking my Martini.
How I wish to have you, my love!
Without altering anything else than our bodies,
Our lips, our way of touching repeatedly!
Ah, where are you, Richfield? Summertime is here!
Then all silenced.
Robert Jones Simon's voice had gone. The last news was in the following spring of 1946, when a tall-red-white-uniformed man brought her all his belongs. He, too, was a lonely soul. If at all uncertain and digging up into her heart to what she could discard, that was it because she loved him. She was ready for him. She was ready to learn how to make a dinner, clear the dishes, inquires where she could find more happiness to give it to Robert Jones Simon. Most importantly, how to be a mother. What a drastic disappointment! What a waste of that reality! If that could be the suitable of a hybrid end, it was then the beginning a stake, the beginning of a "start" over again.
She remembered she wrote this to her dead lover:
The old & new love is gone!
And like the wind along with the waves of the Ocean,
As they are licking from your feet & drinking
The wet of your petals, beyond all Change & Mortal,
I am here to love you!
Open along the blue cascades, your mind to me,
Your cherry-soul, your body marked by the comforting
Feeling of cupping your dream!
Open the season with the night my tears!
Later, like an impetuous, virgin, enthusiastic, belligerent, but a lonely woman, she took refuge in this place around the San Fernando Valley’s landscapes, where she would begin to take slowly her life back. Just as she takes, also one minute or two to see what she has done none. There is no excitement, while the ground begins to open underneath her feet. Now it is the moment to write a memoir or wait quietly the color-blindness of Death.
As she is listening, in 1990 at the height of changing began to take form, seeing these moments unfold apart, rather thing trying to recreate them, a tinny bird fallen from the near tree in front of her. What a straight out of line! What is the message? Where is the apparently barrier between death and life she would face it? Carefully, however, she took the bird and cared for him. Hope, love, patience, this tinny bird overcome all of that -- a change! While her, Ms. Richfield, who has suddenly taken up this for something more hieroglyphics, it illuminates her with such intensity.
Ms. Richfield: "I considered it as an unusual given. Just imagine the patients who want to die, who has this deep depression or they may find a way to denial all this as a pleasure. When your mind is wandering filled of choices, who give too much hope an unrealistic assessment of what they went through. Now here is an old woman who has 86 years old, who does not know anything but this isolated ground with the most toxic remembrance of denial, still believing that love will come one day. Not this kind of propagation. A love of belief, a love that I never give to my poor Simon or to any man because of this halfway to see myself part of this big picture."
Now in her later 90s, while she is maintaining her focus as a mountebank of easy challenge, Ms. Helen Richfield does not think it a turbulent past or a supply line for a novel. She thinks it as a train of living, and what happened to her hands, and that count, for her present attitude, would never have the notion to understand it fully. It likes every day being carefully to step out of the cottage she does it just like that. She does not think what it is; she thinks in terms that her hands have given her a memory to be special. Like this letter from July 1946:
I read your poems and they are, well, exotic! Nevertheless, there is no necessity
of giving it a reply, you say. Silly! I think about it. Life is tough, even
if the suckers are apparently healthy. How much I wish to go there and show
you I have more guts than you?
"This letter never goes through," she says, fully intended to given this petiole a tinny cut. "The letter was returned back when he died near the capital of Italy."
Suddenly there is a sensation of worry through her slow moment or acting out to win the last lap of a speed platform. An action that are sitting movements, gestures, goodwill, you must say, along with all of these fact of that in which she knows she could not move fast enough to be there. She becomes unless a symbol of time and space, where her hands refused to go ahead. If that happen, she would break a smile across her face, she would take her time over the plants as a taster, using her eyes only; but if it does not happen, her hands then become a body language in a unique absorber of accountability to select the best approach -- or simply to touch it for a good effect.
Helen Rogers Richfield died on September 21, 2008. Age 99.