Lindsie Haxton, a beautiful word that soars into eulogy
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Over the years that I’ve been writing these columns, one Cochrane reader responded often with praise for beautiful words, dragonflies, and lives lifted upward. For this Mother’s Day column I’d like to pay tribute to Lindsie Haxton, who passed away on May 2.
Lindsie, wife of Terrance Haxton and mother of Heather, Stephen and Christina, was an educator, artist and writer who thrived on beautiful images, sounds and words. One of her earliest responses was to our column on the most beautiful word in the English language (Nov. 26, 2003).
She suggested the musical term “madrigal,” a word appearing in “The Ballad of Beautiful Words,” by the early-20th Century American political cartoonist, John T. McCutcheon. She had learned the ballad from her mother and enjoyed its euphony, as in the lines: “Amethyst, airy, drifting, dell, / Oriole, lark, alone; / Columbine, kestrel, temple, bell, / Madrigal, calm, condone…”
Earlier that year, Lindsie had drawn on her sensitivity to beautiful lessons from Nature in her comment on the dragonfly as a symbol of life after death (my column of Feb. 19, 2003). She recounted a story she’d heard from Don Neufeld, former pastor of Cochrane Alliance Church, about the metamorphosis of dragonflies from larvae/nymphs into glorious soaring creatures. She said:
Lindsie found comfort in that story, she said, because of serendipitous dragonfly experiences she’d had following the death of her father three years earlier. “My memorable meetings with the ethereal dragonfly comforted me and reminded me that my father didn’t die. He left this place to soar in another.”
Now it’s Lindsie’s turn to scale the stem of life and soar skyward with a new beauty. But the moments of the earlier journey are not without merit, and indeed like a treasured book, deserve to be eulogized. That was the point of her response to my column for March 7, 2007:
“What joy and comfort is received as we reopen the beloved covers and keep the story alive,” she wrote.
Reflecting on Lindsie’s beautiful contributions to these columns, I asked her daughter Heather, a teacher at Cochrane High School, if she’d be willing to describe ways in which her mother herself was a beautiful word. I’ll conclude with Heather’s response:
“My original two words are no longer evident, as they have given birth to new ideas and images,” Heather said. “These, in turn, will undergo further change, and in doing so, remain alive. That is their beauty and that was/is the beauty of my mom: growth, life, expansion, upward-lifting transformation. Metamorphosis.”
© 2013 Warren Harbeck