Monday, February 10, 2014

A Grey Day in February


A Grey Day in February

 This morning I peered out my kitchen window through the steam of my second cup of hot coffee at a grey garden overhung with a sky the colour of steel.  It is February now, the pinnacle of winter’s reign, with the festivities of December forgotten and a lemon-lime spring still a long way away.    It is that time of year when the landscape becomes a grisaille painting, all tree bark, dead leaf and frost, punctuated by the bony fingered hands of the hydrangeas forever reaching up towards the low-hanging clouds.   A long wintry walk with Edward notwithstanding, I know the pleasures of February are best found indoors, so I set about busying myself with some of my favourite wintertime tasks.  I kneaded bread, I baked a cake.  I knit the final stitches on a sweater the colour of lilacs.  I listened to an English mystery.   

And on this grey day as I worked contentedly away at these most quotidian of activities, the wonderful actor, and one of my personal favourites, Philip Seymour Hoffman, was eulogized at a funeral service in New York.  I’m not quite sure why his death has felt so unspeakably sad to me this week.  He was a rare talent, to be sure; anyone who has seen one of his performances could easily say that.  He had the ability to disappear into wildly divergent characters in performances that aided us all in better understanding of what it means to be human.  He was only forty-six, much too young, with three small children who need their father and who will miss him terribly.  And death found him through drugs, which is always tragic beyond measure.    I have never understood nor experienced addiction and can only imagine the horrific struggles he was evidently enduring in this, the grey time of year.  Reportedly sober for over twenty years, it seems even sadder that he slipped into the abyss after so long in the light.   

As my quiet rooms filled with the sweet aroma of baking bread and chocolate, I stood looking out at that grey sky, now tinged with the pale pink of a setting sun, and said a prayer for the family of a man I did not know.  I thought of those whose views are always grey, no matter the weather outside; those who cannot manage to climb out of a dark place despite their longing to do so. I said a prayer for them, too. 
I shall miss Philip Seymour Hoffman and the performances that could have been,
 even as I’m grateful for what he left us.

One of my favourite scenes from Doubt....


29 comments:

  1. Thoughtful post.
    Cold weather has a way of wrapping around us like an old book wanting new pages. Sadness in the winter months suns itself on the gray white chill. A death in winter speaks alone on a frozen Earth nobody really wants to be in.
    PSHoffman's death makes me as sad as it ticks off because he made such a stupid choice. Stages of grief sometimes don't wait their turn.

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  2. Yes, so horribly sad to hear about a most gifted person succumbing to such a tragic fate. He was, indeed, an exceptional actor.
    Loved your thoughtful essay on combatting the gray of February. Oddly, I'm delighting in the ravishing - almost gaudy beauty - of the Caribbean while knitting a wooly hat.

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  3. the picture you chose for this heart sad post is remarkably beautiful.
    i lost my father to a massive heart attack when he was only 45. I thought at the time that he wasn't young. but i see it now of course that he was very young indeed... leaving a widow and two young children.
    it matters not whether it's from heroin or closed off arteries... the loss is monumental.

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  4. We did lose a talented actor. One critic wrote that he will forever look at new films and think how Hoffman would have done that role. It is grey outside my window too and I am thanking God for this much wanted rain.

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  5. Will miss him terribly. One of the finest actors of his generation.

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  6. Thank you for this lovely response to a sad death, and thank you for posting that particular link.

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  7. a beautiful expression of what I felt, feel . . my guess it that this true for many others as well--powerful clip from such and intensefil

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  8. Hi Pamela:
    The world lost a great Artist, and a tremendous loss to his family. I discovered his acting abilities a long time ago, and have watched his craft get better and better. I hope he is at one with the universe.
    Your description of winter is spot on. Last night I was looking out the front door, checking to see if a package arrived for me. No package, but a beautiful winter sky and stars...oh my stars. And the moon too. What a glorious setting. The color of the sky was a midnight blue. The air was incredibly crystal clear. Just amazing. And the moon was a funny shape. I came inside (freezing out there) and looked at my blog, where I have the phases of the moon on the sidebar. It read 60% waxing. Kind of an odd shape for the moon. Well, I have become sidetracked. I would love to see the sweater you are knitting the color of hydrangeas. They are one of my very favorite flowers. Stay warm. - Kathleen

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  9. I, too, have felt a tremendous sees off loss this week. How unfair it seems that such a talent was so tortured. Your winter pastimes sound perfect! Stay warm!

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  10. Grey skies ? You made me think. It's strange but I cannot remember there being anything but sunshine and blue skies when I was at school in Atlanta. I this another a sign of advancing years ?

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    1. Advancing years? Never!
      The thing about grey skies here.... they only last a little while.
      We are expecting snow on Tuesday... but today is sunny and in the 60's.
      We have nothing to complain about in winter.
      August, however.....

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  11. The skies for PSH must have been more than just grey. And we will never know what might have make him think he could revisit his addictive habits and come out unscathed. My mother's description of her worst bouts with severe depression was that it felt like she was falling into a black hole. In his case, a great talent has been lost. In my mother's case, she got help and miraculously lived to the ripe old age of 97.

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  12. Those of us who have never experienced the terrors of addiction really have no idea of the awful consequences do we Pamela. To come to that at such a young age is so tragic for everyone.

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  13. Pamela,
    How beautifully you capture images in the midst of grey skies and then marry words that convey hope, or feathers of hope.
    Wishing you a day surrounded by goodness, love and kindness.
    A wonderful movie, amazing performance.
    pve

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  14. Thank you for writing this in such beautiful words..I feel the same sadness!
    There was only one Philip in my life..

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  15. I enjoyed many movies that PSH made, like many others here. But truly, he was a man whose profession it was to act, does that make his death any more notable than the accountant down the street who may die from an overdose. Furthermore, I couldn't help but think of all the people who have met a similar fate but perhaps theirs came in a vacant house on the edge of town. Is their death any less notable. I am sorry he left behind his family, especially his children at such a young age, but he made his choices and unfortunately some bad ones cost him his life.

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  16. Perfection................you and Phillip Seymour Hoffman!

    Angela Muller

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  17. Grey skies...they always clear up so why not put on happy face. Your post was beautifully written and befitting of a man who was so immensely talented and will forever be missed.

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  18. Pamela,

    PSH was indeed a talent and will be missed by many. I was heartbroken to hear that he had died in such a manner and after fighting for over 20 years. I cannot imagine what sort of dark place he was in to start taking drugs again. I pray that he has peace and that his tree beautiful children have dome too.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  19. Hi Pamela, Thank you. Those that see only gray suffer immensely. Prayers for all those who desire light even when they see only gray.
    Mary

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  20. All of your postings are deeply touching especially this one.
    Blessings. Jeanne

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  21. Love the pictures you put in my head with the words lemon-lime spring. On a more somber note. . .I too felt his death deeply. Thank you for putting into words what so many feel.

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  22. The web is such a unique place. You find kindred spirts that have similar feelings as your self. The loss of Philip is a sad loss. He is a visual reminder of the demons we all fight.

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  23. Grey days and the colour of lilacs..I wish Philip could have seen brighter days ahead. I read that he felt he would leave this earth in the same manner that he died. It breaks your heart to think of someone in that much pain and that he turned to drugs again after being free of it all for so long. xx

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  24. It was sad to lose a great actor on gray day. I loved that clip from the movie. Thanks for sharing it.

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  25. I love the artwork you use to illustrate your blog. Would you be able to tell me the name of the painter and the title of the work? Thanks!

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  26. I just found you as I've jumped from blog to blog in search of new reads, and you are such an intriguing and beautiful writer! And your Edward is just beautiful. So glad to have found you. Now I look forward to following you!

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!