My Chinese Grandmother’s Ivory Name Seal

seal1Today marked the one year anniversary since my dad’s passing. I woke up and put on Mitsouko edp, it has just the right touch of beauty and chypre melancholy to wear to the cemetery. Peach and ashy incense with a bit of oakmoss in the base. My mind has been busy lately and I had a strong desire to begin the day peacefully. Intuitively, I am drawn to incense burning as a support in this endeavor, so before setting off to the cemetery, I lit a stick of Japanese incense called Moss Garden. Upon arrival I was greeted by a bright red young cardinal winging its way through the trees which immediately uplifted my spirits. I stood in front of the  garden niches housing the remains of my parents and sister. Visit one, visit all. The quiet time spent in reflection and affectionate presence felt right as a way to begin this day.

Tonight, I was searching for some papers and came upon a letter to me, from dad. seal4It was a letter written in 1989, when he bestowed to me, at the time of my marriage,  my Chinese grandmother’s name seal. I’m so grateful to have both the letter and the seal. Grandmother’s name translates to “like the skin of the bamboo,” signifying, in dad’s words, strength and beauty. He told me that bamboo gets its strength from being resilient. He wrote that he hoped I would treasure the name seal and I do. I love the aesthetic of the old Chinese characters carved into the seal. The curvilinear delicacy appeals to me and makes me think of people and places from a distinctly different era. The little seal is like a time machine you can hold in the palm of your hand.seal2The top of the seal is carved in organic plant like forms, this side looks a bit like a peach or a closed lotus flower. I can’t help but think to myself again that the warm peachy Guerlain I wore today was a good choice.

seal3Thank you, Dad, for leaving me this small but potent reminder of family and of love. Somehow I don’t think it was just a coincidence that I happened upon this today.

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About reneetamara

Writing about death, mental illness, spirituality, art and perfume. Because beauty feeds the soul, and love is beyond what we think.

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