Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stripped Down to the Basics


With Magpie Tales, we’re given a photo and we must tell some story connected to the photo. Above is this week’s prompt. Visit more interpretations of the photo here.

My mother speaks this tale. She is losing her grip on what we call reality but she holds on to what she is: daughter, sister, walker with quilts.

My full life is stripped down to a cane, a sewing table, and an old cedar chest.

I have been an imperfect woman, and many other people along the way: a daughter, sister, wife, mother, lifeguard, meat cutter, cooker of bread and beans in the lean years, business owner, unhappy widow, grandmother, gardener, worker bee.

I have raged, sung hymns, slapped my daughter, loved my husband. I have put my shoulder to the plow all my life long.

I have witnessed the birth of my great-grandsons and I have walked mountains. I have bowed before the giant sequoia. I have bowed before the altar of my Maker, and I have repented.

I have watched my sons grow up to be men. I have sweat and swept and wept. I have lived my life in blue jeans.

Now my life is pared down to this: I seek my way among confusing halls and lost rooms with my cane. I have sent the sewing machine away but kept the slim table my father made. My mother’s cedar chest still rests, as always, at the foot of my bed.

I no longer know the man in the photo on the nightstand. It was all so long ago, and he is so young. I claim nothing anymore.

My mother’s quilt, colorful cotton patches, hand-stitched by arthritic hands, is what I carry now. I take it with me on my journeys through the hallways that spin and wander through my life, and I hold it like a child holds a favorite blanket. I know my mother made this quilt. I know little else.

I know you when you come to me in dreams. I am a girl, walking with my sister through the leaves on our way to school. I see my brother, teaching me to dance. I see your happy eyes.

I know that My Redeemer Liveth. And though I cannot sing, I know the words, and I will know His face, when he comes for me.

~~~~~~

29 comments:

christine said...

This was so good I am jealous and wish I had written it myself. Wonderful imagery all the way through and such sadness too.
I am in awe of you.. it was wonderful to read thankyou for sharing this.
I shall remember it for a long long time.
Christine

Brian Miller said...

that was fabulous chris...i think while the road may have twisted it was still a good life...i really love this one. so nicely done.

Birdie said...

Ahh Chris, this is so very beautiful! Tender. Real. Hugs.

TechnoBabe said...

This is a story of a wonderful life. Keeping the hand made quilt close by is comforting. I am glad she has that.

Dianne said...

Now is the time, to see the beginning and collect the sums.

willow said...

Beautiful piece. I'm leaving now with the strains of Handel playing in my head...

Magpie said...

Oh, Chris. This is lovely and sad and heartbreaking all at once. She will triumph over this in the end and she will be whole again.

Catalyst said...

Chris, this is filled with sadness but ends with hope. Very well done.

Lyn said...

This is so touching, from beginning to end..and leaving us with hope..wonderful mother!

Kim A. said...

I have made both of my children huge crocheted afgans. I made them with love in the hope that they keep them and when I am older and a bit daffy they will find comfort beneath them. Touchstones. Your piece was rich today. Very rich.

♥namaste♥

steviewren said...

Aren't we all like that? A mixture of good and bad.

I love this line, "I have sweat and swept and wept." It's beautiful in a raw, truthful way. I love the ending as well.

Helen said...

There is great depth and perception in what you have given us today ...

Catherine said...

Beautiful

Syd said...

I love that you wrote this through your mother's memories. I would have liked to have known her, this strong woman. I felt so sad that she no longer knows the man in the photo. And she carries the quilt made by her mother and dreams the dreams of her youth. So sad to me.

Nana Jo said...

I have tears in my eyes, this is profoundly beautiful. It should be required reading for anyone working with the aged. It's hauntingly sad, but at the same time it offers hope.

Tumblewords: said...

A palpable piece. Poignant and powerful. I so enjoyed reading it!

joanny said...

A thought provoking piece--- touched me deeply in more ways then you can image.

Joanny

Titanium said...

A winding path leads home...

Jingle said...

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/magpie-tale-the-magical-wish/

mine is up.

Jingle said...

a work in depth...
Happy Tuesday!

Prayer Girl said...

You wove beautiful magical words around this picture.

I loved it.

PG

sarah said...

this is beautiful but a hint of sadness.

Peter Goulding said...

Love the gentle pace of this. Poignant.

rel said...

Chris,
It's difficult to put a pleasant face on alzheimers, but you have managed to do just that. Cherished memories from a long ago give some modicum of comfort.
rel

R. Burnett Baker said...

Interesting how this Magpie brings out a common experience for so many of us. You've captured the agony of the situation, but done it with tenderness and love....

Rick

Lisa said...

You are absolutely an amazing writer. I look forward to reading you. I may get behind in my blog reading, but you are one I try to go back to and get caught up.

This was beautiful, bittersweet, and I felt it. It was real. You are very, very, very talented.

steveroni said...

I know that my...Redeemer lives...

One of my most favorite songs--and I know lots of them now, having sung in the choir since September. Oh! How I love doing that.

And HOW I LOVE reading your post this day...

Star said...

A lovely, lovely post. I really enjoyed reading it.
Star

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

I see a book here, as we all live and age, many go through this if they live long enough...

Albert Einstein Quotes