Dish of Creamy Beige, Please

Dish of Creamy Beige, Please

In the dictionary I discovered that one of the definitions for the noun “natural” is “a creamy beige color.”

I like creamy beige and do not, like some people, see it as a dull hue. On life’s color wheel, the color coordinates with almost everything. It’s a mellow, tame color. Creamy beige’s calming, soothing effect befits painting it on the walls of a psychiatric unit.

When I am in a natural state of being, I am calm. The state involves ego deflation, a process I started to learn over 36 years ago through consistent 12-step work. Now, in my new normal, I sign-off conversations, saying, “be calm.” In my past life, I used to say, “Hang in there.” After my trauma, the H-word kicks off a dangerous association that feels like it’s on a repeating loop that belts me into a sinkhole of anxiety.

Anyway, when I try to be “normal” and fit into norm, the tension compounds in the back of my neck and my heart feels like a tomato dried and shriveled.

Back in my late 20s, a Catholic priest, with whom I spent 12 years on an annual Women’s Lenten Retreat, reinforced the relevance of living “natural” and not “normal”. The priest, also a certified psychoanalysis, prompted me to substitute the word “natural” for “normal.”

One recent example of living in the natural realm was when my friend and I strolled along Long Island Sound. On our way, we stopped and conversed with an older woman who was scrubbing individual rocks from a pile of rocks until she reached a white smooth surface. Despite the fact that I found Geology 101 to be a daunting college course that I barely completed, I have a penchant for rocks. My son and I shared the same fascination. The last time I visited Kentucky when he was alive in 2018, we took a rock exploration road trip. I was raised on rock and roll, but I’ll take a natural rock formation over rock music any day. There’s a psychology behind it. Rocks give me solidity and help me feel balanced — metaphorically speaking, standing on solid ground.

So, I inquired what the woman on the beach was planning to do with her 50 some spic-and-span rocks. First, she explained that she only sourced one rock a day at her hometown beach about ten miles away. In contrast, she came to farm this area because of the booty: dozens of rocks in a day. It was interesting information. I never knew different beaches produce different rock harvests.

Second, answering my question, she said she gathered the rocks to lay on top of her father’s grave to prevent the grass from overgrowing. After conversing a tad longer, we bid the woman goodbye and continued our walk. On the way back, the woman was gone, but I noticed that she had left behind about three dozen rocks, all the color and texture of toothpaste.

“I’m going to get some rocks to bring home!” I  exclaimed.

“You don’t need rocks,” my friend replied.

I ignored her advice that I knew was well meaning since, who really “needs” rocks? I mean, to most people rocks are not a normal household acquisition. Fortunately, my “natural” inclination won out. I grabbed three rocks, and I brought them home without any specific purpose in mind.

Arriving home, I plopped the rocks on a table in the hallway and went about my household chores. I looked at the rocks all day and then, out of the blue, I realized the rocks’ purpose.

I grabbed a fat black marker and inscribed the rocks with my son’s name, “Mom” and “E,” our family’s, especially her brother’s, nickname for my daughter. Writing the names, I obsessed over the word “permanent” on the marker’s container. It was my son’s marker and it had outlived him. So far, it appeared that there really was one permanent item in the world of temporary things.

Afterwards, I made the dreaded trip to the cemetery and placed the rocks in front of my son’s plaque. (The plaque that the funeral director left marks his spot since I cannot bare to order a foot stone.) In turn, the rocks accomplished what they always do, they brought me a sense of balance and comfort.

When my daughter visited for the weekend, she accompanied me to the cemetery and saw the rocks. The site energized her and as she took photos, she announced, “It’s the most beautiful plot in the cemetery.”

As sad as the circumstances of a child’s death, the memory of that moment at my son’s grave with his light-footed sister is framed in a creamy beige, the color of our rock trio that fits naturally into the landscape and gives you the faith that some designs are divinely inspired.

Faith Muscle

14 thoughts on “Dish of Creamy Beige, Please

  1. Wow, I love your post … and the only thing that comes to mind is how I don’t hesitate telling my husband (at least once a month) that he’s my rock … the one that always supports me, no matter what.
    Yes, it’s true – a rock has such beautiful meaning ❤️.

  2. Hi Stacy,
    I love reading your posts. They can be sad, but I see so much life and meaning in them. They make me yearn to live more, and to be more present into every moment.
    The rocks are perfect!! Marshall is smiling in approval 🙂
    I love this: “living “natural” and not “normal””. It gives me a lot to think about. Because of you I will start looking at “beige” a different way.
    Sending you blessings! ♥♥

  3. I liked the concept of living natural vs living normal. I think I know what you mean. I will try to ponder this more. I spotted the word penchant – and I liked it. Moving forward without my Mom I am and when I read your posts I think of her and the love for your son that has not diminished. My Mom’s grave is hundreds of miles away but every time I read one of your posts, I mentally visit. thank you.

  4. Stacy, reading your post healed my inner being ,having lost my son shyam in the same way. I liked your concept of natural& normal.I still do not have the courage to look at my Shyam’s photo even after 25 years though my faith in the divine is like a rock. There is no cemetery in
    Hinduism . The body is cremated and the ashes are put in a holy river. This custom puts my mind at rest. to accept the final farewell to a loved one now & to meet in another life with the same love later.

    • I read this comment this morning and had to process it all day, because I was so moved by your transparency and willingness to share your personal story with me. My heart goes out to you, my friend, as we share this difficult journey together. Shyam is a beautiful name and it sounds like a song — soft and smooth like a river flowing. Thank you so much for also sharing your beautiful custom with me. Perhaps, one day I will be able to see this holy river. 🤍🤍

  5. Stacy, this post was so touching. I could feel tears in my throat. I just love the way you paint a picture with your words. With watercolors, I mix many colors together to achieve a color such as beige. As an artist, I completely appreciate its beauty.
    I’m also drawn to geology and rocks. Your writing reveals so many things to me.

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