Patchwork

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I jump in feet first. Sort of like Mary and Bert into those chalk pictures. It’s deliciously colored, looks soft, smells of clean earth and sky. I’m falling, down, down, down. Just as I thought. It’s an old patchwork quilt, stitched lovingly by hand. A mother, a sister, a daughter like myself carefully hoarded and saved precious pieces of fabric. Bits of cloth for this masterpiece, useful and beautiful. In the lamplight, or maybe with hot wax dripping off a taper, she cuts slowly, choosing the pattern, tongue out in concentration, piecing the intricate memories together. Her husband’s flannel shirt, a flour sack, bit of an old rag, piece of her baby girl’s first dress, bit of blue the color of the sky, green like the meadow. I slowly circle her work, fascinated and enthralled. The patience, attention, and fortitude to her craft astonishes me. Me in my 21st century three second glances at a web page, drive thru coffees, and buy it now, one click shopping. I sit cross-legged at the edge of the table. She looms above me, the colors of her art, life, work, swirling, stunning me. I hear a hum from her lips, a sigh of satisfaction as she places another small piece in the perfect place. Scissors down. Resting, sipping coffee, gazing a moment out the cabin door. A breeze flows in because it’s open a bit. She returns purposefully to her work. A graveness steals over her as she carefully handles some white muslin. What does it mean to her? A lost mother, a child? I feel my eyes well up. I stand up, brushing free of a stray thread, and take a last glance at this woman’s history laid out on the table in front of us. One life represented. So brief, yet complicated, messy brevity. A span caught in a single item can never truly reveal all. But it can try. I jump up and I’m out, out and now how do I live my own quilt rightly? I don’t know. But I will try.

~

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Kingdom of Opposite Tale: Part 2

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Part 1

Soul crouches, cowers in the crevice. It covers its ears. It doesn’t want to take on the path right now. The swirling opposite stream’s Siren call is loud today. Tendrils of a whisper float to Soul, “Just give this foolishness, this outmoded path up. Ease, tranquility, softness, and beauty are yours, Soul.  Just calmly step over.” Soul traces the tentacle scars on its arms. The edges ooze, pus and pain mingle in its mind.  A beautiful face is now in the crevice, swirling and hovering near, slender finger beckoning. Soul is tempted. Why face the mundane road of thou-shalts and whosoever wills? Why feel the bruise and pain of this Kingdom of Opposite? Soul decides to just hide from it all. There is no danger in this crevice. After all, it’s still on the path. Soul leans nearer and stares harder. Siren’s lustful song is longer, mournfully louder. Cringing, Soul remembers. Eyes of its mind shut tight, forgetting again, fighting to remember. Its eye strays toward the path. That blood, a watering of red, on the dusty trail beyond its resting place. Startled, Soul stretches forth one leg, creeping back, faith seeping into its doubting heart. It can’t be. What is that small piece of greening hope in the barrenness? It shuffles closer and peers down. A curling, swirling vine is growing from the red stream.  Something sprouts in Soul’s heart.  Hearty, simple, brave, little vine.  Beauty among dry bones, Soul muses. It pulls itself up, brushes itself off, straining eyes ahead, following the swirls and twists of green.  “One must look hard for beauty in this Kingdom, but isn’t that the very essence of True Beauty? It comes up through the hard places, the lost places, the gruesome places of our path.” Soul speaks these truths out loud, telling itself, drowning her voice, watering the little seed of its heart. Soul starts forward, following the Vine wherever it may go, a spark of beauty leading it onward. It begins again with one step.

~

 

 

 

Five Months In – Kingdom of Opposite Tale

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Welcome to the Kingdom of Opposite –

Soul is on a path, rocky and barren, dry, desert wind blowing.  This part of the path has been five months and a little more, it reckons. Sweat- laden, Soul turns its head and glances around the landscape, plodding, plodding. Step at a time, day at a time, one tear at a time. A side way glance, grasping, grabbing arms, tentacle-like flail from a stream going the opposite direction. Soul sees flashes behind, flashes of fascinating things, muddied and unclear. It stops, staring and mesmerized. Shaking its head, it turns, glancing at the path that it’s been on…almost half of this new year. The same old, same sharp stones, same small way.  Soul’s head turns once more to the brilliant flow on either side of him. It thinks to itself, “I have none of those accomplishments, what is that newness, I need that, I’m different, I’m wasting, withering in obscurity, I’m desperate for easy, restful things.” Something sticky and hard is on its arm. Soul looks down. A black, stinking, ugly tentacle is grasping its arm. The stream gleams, it glitters, it accomplishes great, measurable things. There are accolades and praise in the sweet-smelling stream. Soul trembles. What has Soul done compared to the this alluring flash surrounding it? How can Soul measure up? Another tentacle joins its companion. Soul thinks, “I have nothing, I am nothing, all I have is this journey of rocks, painful and jarring.” Closing eyes, deep breath, Soul hears something. It can’t compete with the glamorous beauty flowing all around it. It is so faint, so gentle, yet has a musical, lyrical bell-like quality to it. Soul bends. Soul rests in the wind of it. Reaching and stretching its ear to it, Soul finally yields to its draw. Listen. Can you hear it with Soul? “Be still and know.” Soul realizes that its cheeks are wet like the dew of the morning and its parched, patched heart is refreshed. The tentacles are gone, bloody traces of their grip slashed across Soul’s wrists. Soul turns once again to the path winding in the opposite direction of the teeming stream. Something brilliant on the path jumps out at Soul. It stoops to touch it, warm on its finger. It’s gruesome, it’s dark red, it’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s a blood trail. Soul never noticed this before. Soul’s blood drip, drips, down mingling with the blood on the ground. Soul crests the next rocky ridge, plod, plod, step, step, and upon looking down into the valley below, through a heavy, dank, fog, it catches a glimpse of Something. Soul can’t name it. Yet, it takes a step down and toward, into the unknown, refusing a glimpse to the side and the beautiful, teeming, mass flowing beside it, instead filled with an unexplained, incredible Love that fills the lonely, confused, and weary crevices of Soul. Soul scrambles, tripping, stumbling over the rocks, relationships rocks, Soul-wrenching rocks, just to catch one glimpse. It never does, but it follows the brilliant Light that surrounds the Something, sending out a pulsing promise of “You are loved.” Soul catches its breath, places its scarred feet one step lower into the Kingdom of Opposite. Soul falls, but looks up, faintly seeing this Beauty ahead, on the same path, together with Soul. The Light beckoning with love and acceptance, Soul seeing the path of blood flowing from the One, that blood mixing with its own on this journey, and nothing, no ease, no prize can complete with the brilliance of this dusty, love-soaked path. Step, step, plod, plod. One moment at a time.

~