Sunday Morning Rituals

Last night I slept upstairs, son the younger on the trundle bed. Under the roof, we could hear the rain better.

I had on my favorite pj’s: pink flannel with coffee cups splashed all over. When I woke, the dog was at my feet and the cat had her head on son the younger’s leg. It had stormed during the night; as it got light the downpour lessened.

I got up and put on my favorite robe: pink terrycloth scattered with poodles, Eiffel Towers, and “je t’aime” in black embroidery thread.

I made my traditional Sunday morning run to the neighborhood donut shop, where the radio is always tuned to a local blues show. Last week, when I got back into my car, I found myself listening to the same program and the host mentioned the donut shop owner by name. This morning as I wait for my regular order, I watch the parade. It is quiet today. None of the church-goers have arrived yet. Instead, there are two young men in tatoos, t shirts and khakis.

At home, I eat my coconut donut and watch the ending to “Flower Drum Song.” Later today I will watch Bing Crosby in “The Bells of Saint Mary.”

Outside, there are circles of fresh dirt around each of the two lilac bushes planted yesterday. The ditches are full of water and the trees still drip, but patches of blue are appearing in the sky.

Autumn Evening

My mother’s flower vase stands on my dining table. Burgundy velvet drapes are an elegant backdrop to a yellow chrysanthemum wearing an underskirt of mocha. Orange tiger lilies stand apart from Bells of Ireland, their furry, maroon pistils sway at the slightest footstep.

Son the older and I have just finished watching a black and white, 1953 French comedy. Monsieur Hulot, the main character, is a bumbler whose mishaps create in us an odd tenderness.

Outside, the fall moon is a sliver, leaves skitter down the street, and a light rain patters on the trees.

Three newly planted gardenia bushes close in the only side of the front yard without flowers or foliage.

Sometimes it is our limits which define our purpose.

When Rosemary Leaves Turn Silver

This morning we held a snuggle-in, the family and I. At first it was just son the younger, husband, and I. Then we sent husband to fetch son the older. Husband returned to report that our bedroom was distinctly warmer than the rest of the house. The rest of the house being some eighty years older.

And we were cozy, nestled under the duvet. Son the younger sang a nonsensical song of his own invention while son the older warmed my back and husband held my hand. And so we stayed for many minutes, imagining a life without school, without work.

The morning was cool when I dropped son the younger at school. I watched him walk away, already showing a little more ankle under pants only a few months old. The air had warmed by the time I brought home groceries and as I scuffed my way through dried leaves I made a sudden change of plans.

I needed no more than a t shirt to keep me warm as I painted the front yard fence. A breeze brought the rustle of crisp leaves. Even shortly after noon, the shadows fall differently than during summer. The odors too are different. The smell of decay, of retreating sap.

I could not paint the corner of the yard where the rosemary grows until I had taken pictures of it. The dull brown of the wood suits the woody stems, the dark green of this fragrant bush. Viewed through my camera lens, the purple flowers and the long fingers of aromatic herb create a mystical grove.

A bit of bird down catches on a rosemary stem, feathery edges glint in the sun. And for some moments, there was only this: the smell of rosemary, light softening petals into fairy gowns, and wind in the trees.

Piecing It Together

This weekend I went to the International Quilt Festival. My grandmother and great-grandmother both quilted. My sister and I have both quilted. My mother did not quilt but she did collect fabric. When I spent most of my time wandering through the vendor area, then, I came by the impulse honestly.

The selections ranged from African-themed batik to antique kimonos. There was hand-dyed silk and hand-made buttons. There were rich brocades and trim in riotous color. There was nubby hand-woven woolens and fabric so sheer it could only exist for the pleasure of looking at it.

There was a large doll exhibit, a daily journal quilt exhibit. Quilts that used machine stitching to create portraits, quilts that borrowed elements from the Amish quilting tradition.

There were quilt artists who consciously gave themselves assignments: a series of tiny quilts, each in a particular color. There were quilt artists who sewed out of personal tragedy.

When I tore myself away, I carried home a bag of patterns, some hand-dyed felt, and a small sense of what might be possible for me.