THE CABIN/THE DREAM
It is out there. A meadow thickened by Black-Eyed Susans, punctuated with white daisies that are scattered about in the high grasses looking more like lace than flowers. The field, yellow in the brilliant sunlight, is deep green in the shade of the only standing tree, which was planted during a time when this place was an orchard. It is an old Baldwin which has produced neither blossom nor apple in decades.
The land slopes toward the river of my memory where sandy shores gleam with bits of polished stone, deposited there during the spring floods. The hillsides are lush with pine. The river, a stream in summer, provides fresh water. Fish swim in the shallows.
I am alone in this place yet never really ever having been here at all, except in my dreams. I am just as sure that this is the place where I started and it is most certainly the place where I shall end. It is a short distance from the cabin, which I measure in seconds not steps. For although I have traveled this path a thousand times, my feet have never touched the earth.
The building is sparse. There is only one door, and from the rude entry I see an oblong table covered in oilcloth. A glass Mason jar, flanked by pewter candlesticks, holds some of the field flowers. Lit candles never burn down.
Four places are set for dining. There is the expectation of guests, but none ever come.
The fireplace is stacked with logs that have been kindled for my arrival. The flames emanate from bed of glowing coals, which never become embers. There is no smoke.
Through the only window I see a bed which is covered with a patchwork quilt. It is the type used in hospice to provide a modicum of comfort for the dying.
I am not allowed to cross the threshold.
BLACK EYED SUSAN/ Bea and Me
I am an old soul. My mother told me that when I was a child. She said I was a witch, born with wisdom of events that preceded me and knowledge of things intangible. Old souls, she explained were born flawed and therefore condemned to repeat the cycle of their life over and over again until it is deemed acceptable.
“Try, she said, “to always be a good girl”.
I did that.
I preferred the perverse.
Walking in her shoes cramped my feet.
Mama hated my ways. She said I might as well hang a red light over my door. I tried to slap her, but my papa grabbed my arm inches before I hit her face.
I never regretted that.
She deserved it.
She brought me into this world flawed and waiting.
I became her want, her need, her hunger, and her guilt. She prepared the meal.
I ate it. She wiped me clean with a damask napkin.
I was excused from the table.
THE PAINTING/THE TABLE
In the winter months I live in the apartment where my mother lived. I write on the same table where she painted her pictures.
There are days when I want to throw all her stuff away.
The picture on the dining room wall is called THE CABIN. My mother painted it. It is acutally a pastel drawing which features a field of Black Eyed Susans and daisies. There is a small cabin on the top of the hill. The piece was done 50 years ago in Vermont. (Joe's Pond)
Although I spent the past 10 years looking at it, I never really saw it. It was just there..amongst her things.
I want you to see it the way I did. Just a picture on the wall.
One day, I stared at the painting and noticed something I had not really seen before. Her cabin was my cabin; the very one I dreamt about. I wondered how I could have missed it. All those years of searching and it was right there.
Previously, I found small flaws in the shadows and perspective. Now viewing the picture up close, I noticed thousands of detailed chalk strokes in hundreds of colors which took extraordinary patience and skill to produce.
Me? I work in words. Cut and paste. Delete. Save draft and preview. Short attention span.
She went for the tiny stiches and perfect hems. I use sticky tape instead.
Anyway, I never liked the picture. I thought she could do better. I disappointed her, but that was just way things were between us. Hard biting truth.
She probably knew that one day I would hang it up in the dining room so that I would have to look at every day and wonder.
© Anne Armand 2012
#3 Ande Bliss: Dining room in Florida
*Please note this picture was as close as I could find to replicate my mother's field of dreams on the way to the cabin. It is not her work. She worked in pastel. This is a photo.But I is pretty damned close.