For Cynthia*

Cynthia Jobin, a blogging friend, passed away last month. I knew her voice through her poetry and generous, insightful comments on my blog and many others. Her comments bit sometimes too, and made me mad but those comments got me to look at my writing from a different viewpoint. She was honest – unreservedly so. I miss her presence.

At 7:00 this morning, as black turned to grey the colour of old long johns, a trio of cardinals in the maples along our street belted out a call and response folk song. It sounded like spring. Inside, I sipped the first cup of coffee of the day in my dark living room. I lit a tray of candles, let thoughts flicker. If I’m lucky I get about 10 minutes of quiet before others begin to rumble upstairs, footfalls thumping to and from the bathroom. The faucets squeak on, water runs, the faucets squeak off.

While I sat sipping, birdsong burst through the windows, so aggressively cheerful that I let their voices lead me barefoot onto the front porch where damp air licked my toes and icicles dripped around me. I scanned the top branches of the closest trees but dense grey light prevented me from seeing the birds.

As I looked up, crows took off from their rookery in the woods along Sawmill Creek. Beyond them, clouds covered the stars I knew were underneath. I decided that stars are punctures, places souls push through to an alternate universe. The brightness we think of as stars is their energy, glowing through the holes. That’s where Cynthia is, I think, reading her poetry out loud to the assembly, like a cardinal on a wet winter morning.

snowshoesue

*Cynthia’s friend, Pauline King, wrote a lovely piece about her here.

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36 thoughts on “For Cynthia*

  1. I didn’t know Cynthia, but was always taken by her thoughtful comments. I’ve been reading and enjoying bits of her blog here and there since you posted the sad news. I like your view of stars and their light and shall forevermore think of them in this way. Beautiful tribute, Susanne ❤

  2. You make me mad and envious that I didn’t know Cynthia … that I missed her but the Cardinals will remind me of what I never knew. Beauteous tribute, dear you.

    • You can still enjoy her poetry because her site is still up. Simple, elegant, thoughtful, incisive – there aren’t enough adjectives to describe her work.

      • And now I have found and bookmarked her site, read her obituary and spent some moments in her miscellany section where I read the most soul-searing account of grief for her lost partner and attempts to reinvent the shape of her Universe. May I ever find a fraction of the elegance with which this woman wrote, I would be something near to content. Thank you for bringing me to her, her body may have passed but her work is a legacy that I amongst legions will take joy in discovering.

  3. Suzanne,

    Every day I expect Cynthia will return to her blog after a small absence; denial is funny that way. I miss her wit and our long conversations. A few days before she passed I got a package in the mail. It was a book of French poetry that Cynthia had sent me. She was a generous soul and the shadow she cast upon me will be slow to fade.

    • I miss your long conversations with Cynthia, too. They were a weekly highlight of wit and fun and even, upon occasion, deep thinking. How like Cynthia to send you a gift while she was so ill.

      • Sorry about the zee (or zed, as Canadians are wont to say–spell, whatever…). Yes, Cynthia had a charming, infectious wit. How I miss her.

  4. Such a beautiful tribute, Susanne. The losses begin to pile up as we march through time, and the holes they leave in our hearts take little pieces each time we say goodbye. I know you will miss Cynthia, and I am so sorry for your loss. Surely she would have loved this post.

  5. A beautiful tribute Susanne. I didn’t ‘know’ Cynthia, though had occasionally seen her comment on others’ posts. It is strange when people disappear and you wonder if they are okay. I love the idea of stars as punctures.

  6. “The brightness we think of as stars is their energy, glowing through the holes.” – so profound. Thanks for sharing. While Cynthia reads to the assembly in the heavens, we celebrate her life here. What really touched me is the fact that I have actually thought about it before, how if and when I go, as we all will eventually, if the people who I’ve come to know through this platform, which is a community of sorts will even be aware that I’m gone in the case that I don’t get a chance to say goodbye. For some reason I wouldn’t want those who may care even just a little to wonder what ever happened when the posts stop. Heartfelt dedication. Cynthia is surely smiling down upon…

    • I do wonder when folks disappear from the blogosphere if they are okay. It genuinely bothers me. If I hadn’t read her good friend Pauline’s post, I wouldn’t have known she was gone. Its like losing a neighbour except you never saw the ambulance arrive. Thanks for your comment Heath.

  7. Susanne, thanks! All those who were readers of Cynthia’s blog and her comments are going to miss her. I loved your idea of Cynthia’s energy and her reading out her poetry. Down Under I have not seen a Cardinal. I have several Kookaburras come to the backyard and I love their guffaw. Maybe Cynthia is laughing heartily somewhere!

    • I hope Cynthia is laughing like a Kookaburra and enjoying good company, too. Did you ever see the Disney movie “Monsters’ Inc.”? By the end of the movie the monsters discover that laughter has more power than screams and they rejig their whole approach to life and collecting energy based on the discovery. Maybe the Kookaburras are onto something!

  8. I’m sorry to hear about your friend. Isn’t it something, this internet thing, that we become friends with people we would never have met before. And such close friends sometimes, that the loss is as hard as any we experience.

    I think of stars similarly…talk to them as if they were my parents, perhaps they are. And such a lovely thought to connect the song of cardinals to her. I often think my parents send birds down to me just to let me know they are around, they are fine, they love me. Not such a hard stretch to think she sent you those three to remind you of her and to make you smile.

    Hugs. To you and to all her friends and family.

    • And now I have gone to her friend’s blog, and then to her blog, and read her poem…and wish I could buy her book. I would have liked her. Several of my friends are similar…in age…in attitude…in creativity….I can see how you will all miss her.

      • Isn’t her poetry exceptional? So clearly expressed that she makes it look easy but it sure as hell isn’t when you sit down and try to emulate her. I’m so glad you read Pauline’s beautiful post and that you took time to read Cynthia’s words. Thanks for that.

  9. This is a beautiful piece, Susanne. I recently wrote about a friend who’s long since passed, but whose presence I feel now and then. I treasure those magic moments with him. “Cosmic winks” I like to call them. Regarding stars, I love to remember that they are always there, even when we cannot see them in the day.

"The river flows both ways." (Margaret Laurence)

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