Yesterday I saw this picture (which I’ve stolen) at Does Not Wisdom Call, which I visit almost daily. Ellie, I think that just looking at the picture did exactly what you intended – the tension just drained out of me. I like bare wooden floors, and rocking chairs, and bare white walls – calming. I like patches of intense colour against the white bareness, soft cushions and warm blankets against wooden floors and stone walls.
I really like rocking chairs. I live in small quarters right now, and I own three chairs. Two are rockers. One was my great-grandfather’s. It’s at least 100 years old – the veneer is quarter-sawn white oak, and it’s been stained – the man who repaired the seat for me told me to try mixing two-thirds walnut stain and one-third cherry to start trying to match the colour. The other is more of a glider – it’s a modern, mass-produced piece of furniture, wooden frame with seat and back cushions in a light-green, nubby fabric, and it has a footstool to match.
This past Christmas was very difficult for me. It’s even hard for me, still, to write this down. In November 2006, my mother died, seven weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer. In the following eleven months, both my stepparents and my aunt died, and I moved out of our marriage. We were married in June 1981, started dating in December 1978. By this past Christmas I was exhausted. I couldn’t manage Christmas very well. People would take me places, concerts and things, and I’d spend a lot of time in the Ladies’ Room, trying to fix my make-up. I haven’t found a really tear-proof mascara yet.
I had two weeks off work at Christmas, and eventually, I developed the common sense to start telling people, “No, thanks,” when they asked me out to happy Christmas events. I needed more than rest – I needed some tranquility. Little by little, over the course of the two weeks, I found what worked for me.
Early in December, I’d helped a friend at her annual pottery show, and I’d taken payment in pottery – cups and saucers for coffee. One, I gave away. And coffee – decaf seemed like the best idea, since revving up was the last thing I’d wanted. I have a friend who’d lived in
I knit. In November I’d bought some wool to make socks to send to a cousin in
Finally, I have a double-CD set of Yo-Yo Ma playing the Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites, from the film series, “Inspired by Bach”. These things altogether became my path to tranquility. I’d make the coffee with scent of cardamom in it, pour it into one of my beautiful cups, sit in my aunt’s glider with an afghan I’d made over my lap to keep warm. Knit the gorgeous-coloured very soft wool. Listen to Bach. When I’d gone through all six Cello Suites, sometimes I’d play a Sufi Bismillah chant – “Blessed be Allah, the merciful, the compassionate”, that my friend with the cardamom oil had sent. Sometimes, I’d chant along with them.
I called it “sensory drowning”. I’ve got some deep purple mohair now, and I’m making a shawl for myself. It’s at a stage where I have to pay some attention – starting the lace edging. Once I’ve got the first two rows of lace done, my fingers will work it on automatic pilot again. I’ll post a picture. In the meantime, here’s a sample of the music.