Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Remembering Tasha Tudor

Tasha Tudor would have been ninety three years young on August 28th of this year.

Sadly, we lost Tasha on June 18 after she had suffered a stroke earlier in the year. For some years now, I have made it a point to stop on August 28 and remember how thankful I am to have had Tasha in my life. This last birthday was bittersweet. It had always been so nice to know that nestled in a quiet spot in Vermont, Tasha was going about her day working in the garden, cooking at the old stove, or as she used to say, "keeping the wolf from the door" with her art. So many people knew her because of her art, but there were an equal number of people who knew her because of the life she created at Corgi Cottage. Tasha was one of those rare people who knew with certainty who she was right from the start. Avoiding all forms of public media, she stepped back in time to the 1830's and lived as if the world around her did not exist. Tasha never had to explain why she wore old 19th century styled frocks as those who knew her knew her only in this way. She was very private, and despite how very much I had wanted to meet her in person, and know people who knew her well, the respect I had for her way of life never permitted me to ask for an introduction. At times I deeply regret this, and at others I realize with certainty that a mere introduction would have probably driven me mad. Her wit, wisdom, and hearty homecooking made Tasha the kind of person you would like to have in your family of dearest friends. No, a mere introduction would never have done. At Hawk's Run, we cherish the lessons Tasha Tudor has given us through her beautifully illustrated books. Tasha has taught me to honor childhood, and even more so to honor being a mother. She has taught me that a good meal on the stove can drive out the darkest of days, and a nuzzle from a furry friend can ease the worries of the world. We raised our cups of tea to the memory of one of America's greatest National Treasures on August 28. Tasha's cup was placed in the herb garden as the afternoon gave way to dusk. It is nearly impossible to think of Tasha without hearing the words of Fra Giovanni, early 16th century Italian Renaissance painter of religious subjects.

"I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant. Take Peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy. Take Joy.
And so . . . I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away."

Tasha had both Joy and Peace in a world that is far too troubled. She found Heaven at Corgi Cottage. God rest her soul.


fabraholic said...

Kristin, This is one of the best tributes to Tasha that I have read, thank you for it. I wish that all who love Tasha could read it.
Kindred Spirit, Jan

Kristin said...

Jan, it is so heartwarming to know that there are others in the world who value Tasha as much as we do. She was such a rare gem, and I still find it incredible how someone I didn't even know can pass into my thoughts on a daily basis all these years.