Time is always ending – and beginning. Yesterday and today, we are spun away from the past and into the future. We who are lucky enough to wake every morning, begin. Your stories and mine wait patiently — as long as we are lucky enough to wake in the morning. Time is faithful. Write us how you are faithful to your gifts – or not – or both. And here, from two of the faithful, Beauty
Theresa Souers: As hard as I tried to will my mind back into a deep sleep at 4 am, on a deeper level I knew I had lost the battle. Giving in to the idea of two more hours of sleep, I opened my eyes, ever so slowly, and realized the light in our bedroom was brighter than normal for this time of the night. Okay morning. The moon. What a moon. I put on my robe and tiptoed into the living room for a better view. Spent the next twenty minutes watching her graceful descent behind the mountains to the west. Not a cloud in the sky. Beautiful.
Lynette Sheppard – Prompt: Write about a quilt or a blanket.
Old Broad in The Wilderness
I didn’t want to make a square for the river quilt. I had almost flunked Home Ec in 7th grade. Cooking saved me from a big red F because sewing and I just didn’t gel. I made a pincushion shaped like a tuber – it was supposed to be a heart. I worked for hours on a yellow cotton blouse that despite my best efforts wound up with an asymmetrical hem and one sleeve shorter than the other. As an adult, I swore I would never attempt any sewing more complex than attaching a button.
I was proud of my skills as a canoeist. And I was proud to be part of a group of women river runners that braved California whitewater winter and summer. When any of the group turned 40, she was gifted with new business cards stating her name under the logo OBIW – Old Broads In the Wilderness. I was a year away from getting my cards.
One day, while we were resting on the bank of Cache Creek after an especially thrilling run through Little Niagara, Penny had a brainstorm.
“Hey. Let’s make a river quilt. We’ll each create a square with the theme of rivers and boating. Then we’ll get together and stitch them together. We can put our names in a jar and draw one of us to keep the quilt.”
Choruses of “Wow, great idea,” and “I already know what I’m going to do.” filled the air. I stayed silent. I thought I’d proven myself through my navigation of rapids and knowledge of rivers. I was a certified whitewater canoe instructor and had completed Swiftwater Rescue I and II. I thought I’d never have to sew again. Now what? I wondered.
Blythe noticed that I had been less than enthusiastic, read glum, and asked me why I wasn’t excited. I came clean with everyone.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have to turn in my woman credentials since I can’t sew. At all.”
The OBIW’s pondered this for a moment. They didn’t try to convince me that I could too sew or that one of them could teach me. They surrounded me with thoughtful concern.
Then Blythe performed her rescue magic.
“Hey, they have fabric paint markers at Joann’s Fabric Store. All you have to do is draw a picture on a light piece of fabric and, voila. Your square is complete. And we’ll finish the quilt together by machine so no problem.”
I drew a boat on stylized waves and brought my finished square to the quilting bee. Some squares were elaborate, embroidered works and others were simple applique. My favorite was a stitched river created by three strands of meandering thread. It sported Norman MacLean’s words written in fabric marker.
Eventually all things merge into one
And a river runs through it.
I am haunted by waters.
After a day of sisterhood, laughter, and too much food, Penny reached into the jar. We held our breath as she drew a slip of paper and read my name. I still have that quilt. It reminds me that the threads binding women are stronger than any mere stitchery. I didn’t have to give up my woman card after all.