all things must pass

Today was the most extraordinary day.

First: I've been singing this song in my head all day - All Things Must Pass - ever since I saw the Martin Scorcese documentary on the BBC last night, part one, and tonight I will watch part two. George Harrison.. what can I say. He is such a part of my childhood - when my sister wanted to play Beatles with us, as kids (the way you played Beatles was, you pretended you were their girlfriends, with Barbie Dolls). My sister always wanted to be George's girlfriend, and I was thinking how much, as George got older, he started to look like her husband today.

And then, when my brother was still just a teenager, and a young man, he used to play piano duets with George Harrison, at a mutual friend's annual Thanksgiving party.. when he would tell me about it, like it was so normal, I wanted to say 'but you were just a baby - you weren't even born - and then, you KNEW him..'

And then, today was Remembrance Sunday.

I had my camera, and I have a very different post, of photos that I took during the ceremony. But then, before we went to the Gerhard Richter show at the Tate Modern - which I can't wait to go back to, and which has transformed how I am seeing right now, and inspired me to want to make giant paintings from my photographs - and, as we turned off Kensington High Street, where we had been part of the ceremony, we came upon a church, in a square. 'Can you smell the incense?' my husband whispered, as we passed, and I was taken by the light.

By a raybeam of light, on the church.

But he was looking inside. Quietly, he signalled me over, because this was sacred. 'It's like a painting,' he said. And I took this photo.

'No, I meant here.' And we stood together, bearing witness.

And then.. and then, that's when the magic happened. The tricks of the light.

I was captivated, shooting, thinking of the sacredness of it all - life - how we had just honoured the brave men and women who had fought in wars so that we could be here today, and all the people we had loved and who we have lost, but we haven't lost them, because they are with us, in our hearts.

And that's when I turned the corner, and maybe it's because of the atmospheric conditions, and how we had such a warm fall, but - miraculously - there were roses. Growing towards the light.

My father used to remind me, when I was dwelling on something or other, that it was important to never be too busy that you didn't have time to stop, and smell the flowers. And my mother always said to me, as her mother said to her: 'You never know what tomorrow will bring,' (so be present), and 'To thine own self, be true.'

And as I stood there and inhaled the most beautiful scent of these roses, I realised that I'd never see these particular flowers again. The next time I passed this church, they would be gone. All I had - all they had - was this moment, this gift.

That's all I meant to say.


Marry said...

I truly know what you mean. I was diagnosed with PBC in december last year. Now almost a year on i have learned to "smell the roses" and absolutly enjoy every day and esspecially the little things. For every thing i do or not do and see has an influence on my and your life.

Nicola said...

Oh, Jill. You almost brought tears to my eyes with this post. Everything you say is so right, so true. This is the genuine remembrance, and gratitude for what life gives us. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful every day, because sometimes I just grumble and forget how much I already have been given.

P.S. Also, thank you for your two amazing comments on my blog. You and Roz were both so touching - I'm sorry it took me this long to reply! I'm glad you liked the Frieze report, it was quite something to deal with at first - such a mad blur, even more so than LFW. Hope to speak to you soon xxx

The Foolish Aesthete said...

Very touching tribute to light and life. I was just musing on how I have so many things to be thankful for, and that includes people who have passed and people who are still around me.

I can't believe your brother played duets with George Harrison. Unbelievable! I am also thinking back on one of your comments on how we photographically "see" things so similarly. Looking at your shots, particularly through the doorways, it could have been one of mine too. I just took several shots in the old California Mission churches last week like that.

Again, beautiful tributes and images. I will get back to your e-mail soon! xxx

SymbioticLife said...

I love days like that. There's nothing like that feeling.

Emily said...

Jill, those photos of the roses are so beautiful. Your words, like your pictures, always make me stop and look/read again. The sunlight, the roses, it all sort of transpired to make it the perfect day to reflect and live.


Rosalind said...

Ah Jill, I can practically inhale the scent of the roses and the incense as your descriptions and images are so vivid. Such a beautiful post - the sort you do best - when as a reader, it makes me pause, stop, contemplate; scroll back; nod; re-read... Simple and true. We all have so very much to be grateful for, and making time to stop, be still and truly see what's right in front of us is so important. thank you for this beautiful reminder.

LeahB said...

Jill, this is such a fantastically beautiful post. The pictures are gorgeous. It's so great that you were able to capture the moment of the mass (perhaps one of my favorite shots from your blog yet). I fear these traditions won't be around much longer, and appreciate witnessing them while I can. Your image takes me back to the funeral of Pope John Paul. I awoke at 4 am to watch it, and was just so mesmerized by the extraordinary ritual of it, passed down for centuries. Just amazing.

I just want to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I have fun popping in to see the eye candy of the fashion angle of your site, but even more so appreciate the sensitive and thoughtful posts like today's. You're not only a stylish woman but also a deep and sensitive artist-soul. I like the way your mind works!

O D Y S S E Y said...

magic and perfect. time's passage makes all of life so precious...every single moment. none will ever be repeated.
i can smell those roses...and feel the sun's warmth.
i love your street style but something about these tribute posts are poetic, graceful and soulful.
have a lovely week, my friend.

LeahB said...

I also wanted to add that this post is quite timely for me... I'll be visiting the Fallingwater house this Friday and was reading an essay last night on how one always hears the movement of the water within the home, a constant reminder of the swift passage of time.

Jessie in Fashion Limbo said...

Beautiful Jill xxxx