I opened up the packet of my sister’s etching plates and was surprised to find these two. There are no associated prints, that I know of. I’ll be keeping these. Students of the Tarot will recognize The Magician.
Even as the tableaux produces a pang about Noreen (she was rapidly declining this time last year), the simplicity pleases.
A worn wooden floor. An exalted weed. A textured bowl crafted by a friend, lively in its imperfection.
I do not know which to prefer, / The beauty of inflections / Or the beauty of innuendoes, / The blackbird whistling / Or just after.
Look at the lovely Rosenthal platter — that flourish along the scalloped edge; delicate blue flowers draping off the rim. I have service for eight plus another smaller platter, a casserole, a tea pot (squat and round) and coffee pot (tall and slender), plus matching sugar and creamer, candlesticks.
They were a wedding gift from my mother.
Recall this: Mother is back from a trip to Germany with her second husband. They are seeing the world! While on the continent she buys an entire set of china for her daughter who, at the age of 33, is at last engaged to be married.
When Mother hands Daughter the crumpled brochure, Daughter doesn’t bother to hide her dismay. Are the dishes too feminine? Is she inclined toward blue these days? Such a fraught exchange!
They’ve been here before. A history of thwarted choices gives Daughter an unhealthy sense that she’s entitled to sour incivility. So many items ticked off! How much did Mother spend, exactly?
There will be a cost to Daughter’s wounding response and she knows it. It’s no longer a gift-giving occasion. It’s all about Mother’s hurt feelings. Daughter’s cooing and back peddling will be accomplished with a combination of guilt, annoyance, and compulsive, middle-child diplomacy. Of course the dishes will be beautiful! It took a second, is all! Of course, it was a generous gesture!
They’ve been here before, too.
Does it matter that I love the dishes now? That as I wash off the residue from last night’s dinner, I do so with care, knowing how inconsolable I’d be if the platter broke — my mother dead and gone these 22 years past. Stuff has the power to undo us sometimes.
The Weight of Things, Part II
We’ve purchased a shed in the sorry acknowledgement that our belongings have outpaced our capacity for sorting, disposal, or storage. The garage is packed: sports equipment, gardening tools, lumber, Christmas decorations, craft booth panels, two table saws, bikes and chairs. There’s beer brewing equipment, scuba gear, coolers, kayak paddles and beach chairs. At least three complete socket wrench sets, possibly more.
And then there was the dreadful pick up eight months later. Utter disarray.
Seeing these things makes for uneasy recollection. For some reason it is the contrast between the early optimism and the later despair that gets to me the most. I don’t know why. The hard questions arise, prime among them — how could I have missed so much?
I know how — because I wasn’t even looking.
It’s a little better now — maybe you can build up an immunity to memory by repeated exposure to triggering belongings. Things have resumed their status as objects. They are once again problems to be solved — sell? donate? keep?
The iron skillet is coming in the house, but — anybody want a waffle iron?
You might be shocked to know that this disarray of fabric is AFTER giving away about 25 LARGE bags of fabric over the course of the last two years. Furthermore, the picture above shows only three of six shelves. Further, there are seven dressers with their drawers full and bins on the floor!!
I’m going to look back ONE YEAR and find a couple of featured projects and finish them roughly within that month (I mean, September is 2/3’s gone already). This is going to be ‘my thing’. I want to try this as a tool, though, and not as a ‘thing’ (i.e. “My Year of Finishing Work”, blah blah blah).
A little structure. A little time pressure. In conjunction, the two COULD work.
I hope that this process will be a lot like deciding not to grocery shop in my husband’s absence this week. Instead, I made do with what little was in the fridge. How gratifying it was (absurdly gratifying?)!
Sometimes, I will first have to FIND the thing. But’s that okay, and probably good and necessary.
There! A pledge. Two pledges.
And, of course, the Hearts for Charleston Quilt takes priority.