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Friday, March 4, 2011

Ups and Downs

I had had great hopes for this week since little other than quilting was scheduled, but Tuesday things began to fall apart.  Early in the afternoon I learned that a friend, an artist only a few years older than me, had died in a car accident the day before.  Now this was not one of my closest friends--she was not easy to get close to--but I had known her for over fifteen years and her death jolted me.  I had not talked to her since before Thanksgiving last year and that was a chance encounter, and I sometimes would not see or talk with her for many months.  But when we did talk it was often for an hour, meandering over topics of art, politics, education, dogs and cats.  I will miss her clever, caustic wit that made me laugh so many times.  I loved her paintings of the fields and farms and gardens of northern Pennsylvania.  She is one of the reasons I aspired to be an art quilter.

An hour after this news I learned about a New York Times story about waste water from the gas wells that are multiplying in our county being used by our townships for dust suppression on the roads.  The water is laced with radioactive and carcinogenic chemicals.  As if they aren't doing their darnedest to destroy the quiet beauty of our hills, the gas companies now seem bent on destroying the people here as well.

The next day I sent some e-mails, made some phone calls, and then tried to return to work.  But life seemed too fragile, too unpredictable, with too many large forces bearing down on us--and what meaning did sewing one piece of fabric to another have in the face of this?  But I have been working on making my work schedule a priority over the past year and almost a half, and so I mindlessly began sorting through my yellow fabrics for the right shade for a new project I had planned out on Monday.  And as I worked I began to feel the warmth of the yellows, as I often do.  And, having found the perfect golden yellow, I moved on, without hesitation, to choose the background.  Now don't imagine here that the birds started singing and the sun came out of the clouds and I suddenly had the meaning of life revealed to me.  The background is probably a bit darker than it would have been if I had chosen it on Monday, but, if the piece works out to my satisfaction, I will dedicate it to Carol, and even if it doesn't, the process of making it is already dedicated to her.

And, if you're still reading, thanks for the company.

1 comment:

Marianne, aka Ranger Anna said...

We've had a similar experience here--an awesome quilter, who spoke her mind-- a lot--has been missing from her home for over a month. She has literally disappeared into thin air. It's very unsettling for us. I only met her once--we sat at the same table a retreat and sewed for hours on end. And she was so kind to me and showed me several quick and great ideas. Life throws these things at us and sometimes we don't know which way to duck.