Color, Dogs and Dahlias: The Legacy of Alison

I love the colors of October. The bright yellow, orange, and red of the leaves, the yellow and pink of the dahlias still blooming in my garden and the deep orange pumpkins lit up for Halloween. Then comes November as these colors fade to gray. November 1st is All Saints Day, which in the Christian faith honors all those who have passed on to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a day to give thanks for the lives of people who contributed something to yours and who now “from their labors rest.” I believe there is a spiritual connection between those in Heaven and on Earth.

October is a month full of color and the month two people I cared deeply about died due to suicide. One is my father who died on October 18, 1992 and the other is my friend Alison Buck who died October 12, 2018. There are still moments during October when I am sad and miss them and there are moments in October when I feel so connected to them it’s as if they are here with me. I have been thinking about them both all month and on this first day of November I reflect on the legacy of Alison.

Alison was a gifted floral designer, photographer, and dog lover. I first met Alison when someone told me she could take care of our dog Hudson. She stayed with Hudson while we were away and immediately became a dear friend. Alison loved animals and they loved her. If my dog loves you then that’s all I need to know about you. Alison took the most amazing photos of Hudson. In fact, my favorite photos of Hudson are still the ones Alison took of him. She captured his soul. Alison also loved flowers and they loved her. I didn’t know anything about dahlias until I met Alison. I planted a few dahlias in 2020 but this past year I planted over 10 kinds of dahlias in my yard and with each bloom I saw Alison.

Dahlias are some of the showiest of all flowers. In terms of genetic biology the dahlia is a marvel. Instead of only two genes that affect what the plant looks like, the dahlia has eight genes, making it one of the most versatile flowers. It can take on lots of different forms, colors, and sizes. It has a spirit of wildness, just like my friend Alison. Each dahlia that blooms in my yard makes me smile with awe and amazement and makes me remember my friend who taught me to love them. On this All Saints Day I remember the saints in my life who left this world too soon for me but who still show up for me in ways I love.

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