Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A Birthday Blog. Blog 13.

A Wrinkle in Time

Laughing lines.

Today, she would have been seventy-six... my mother. Her hair a little thinner, wispier, her skin creased by more laugh lines, more frown lines: a point of pride for her. She knew she had earned those lines and she generously shared them with all of us, portioned out vigorously with her usual zest.

Our mother, our grandmother, our sister, our friend,  our Tekla... yes, she would have been seventy-six years old... (and, here, I sigh)... would, could, should have been. And, then, who is to say? Death by childbirth, death by plague, death by hardship, death by torture at any given moment in our short and brutal human history- that was not her story, her time. Hard work and persistence earned her a rich life. I reflect on the preciousness of this fragile life and how it is, most definitely, worth a wrinkle or two.

Happy Birthday Mom. To a life well-lived.

Of Spanish Wine and Roses


Some of my photos from Spain, with an eye to my mother's love of detail.

El Greco

Wandering the streets of Seville and Granada and Madrid, not quite hot but warm enough, we made our escape from Canada’s endless winter. We walked and walked, my husband and I, and I did feel my aching, healing, fractal foot with a slight limp on the cobbled streets by the end of each day.  Spain was a ‘yum’ of history, art, music, wine cheaper than water, and olive laden tapas.

Around every corner, I could feel my mother’s Spanish soul.“¡Qué lindo!” are my mother’s words that spring to mind, I can hear her voice: “¡Qué lindo!”, How beautiful! She spoke Spanish simply and clearly, having learned it when my parent’s bought land in Costa Rica more than 30 years ago, mostly to communicate with the worker’s as they built Villa Tekla and then to the small children she taught and the friends that she made. She loved the Spanish language, the Latin flair, the fragrances of the Mediterranean, the clicks of a Flamenco dancer’s heel. She loved to travel and gave me that curious and insatiable travel bug.

I felt her presence in the galleries while standing in front of El Bosco and Rubens and, especially, the dark paintings of El Greco... and in my mind we discussed the colours, composition, and the studied faces. Art: my religion, gave comfort to my loss.

In the heavy Moorish and medieval Islamic palaces of the Alhambra and Alcazar, I echoed her words: “¡Qué lindo!” as I took in the intricate carved tiles and endless archways. The gardens, with their early spring flowers, thrilled my gardener’s soul... that heavily soiled gardener’s soul being one of my mother’s greatest gifts to me. 

Thank you for all the flowers, the soil, and the soul, Mom.

A Tekla travel collage (photos, for the most part, courtesy of her partner in crime, Bill Deverell, my father).

Back to the Grind

Sewing like a mad fiend now, my days are numbered as my return to the working world work looms and I still have this vast fabric thing... that which now seems gigantic as I begin to put it all together. I made 42 little joining-green-squares and 35 horizontal-joining-reddish-rectangles and 36 horizontal-joining-reddish-rectangles and, whew, after all that, I began to feel like a factory of one. I am dutifully pinning and measuring, desperately trying to line things up... do I work from the centre out or the edges in? I often imagine my mother standing in the doorway laughing at me, and with me, as I try to match the rows of the quilt blocks together. They sort of fit... and ‘sort of’ will simply have to do. Not looking for perfection here, folks, just the simple poetry of human accomplishment.

The busy-ness of sewing the quilt together well accompanied by the laziness of an old dog.

Another thread

Blogging about my quilt was a way to ensure that I would complete the task, putting it out there so publicly and openly, a guarantee to succeed under the watchful eyes of many. What I didn’t expect was how I could move others to examine their own grief, accept, heal, and honour their loved ones. I am touched that I have been an inspiration to many but in particular to my cousin, Barb Lubda, daughter of my mother’s closet and dearest sister Sophie. Barb lost her son tragically when he was 18, her grief must have been almost insurmountable, I cannot imagine. Now, some four years after his death, she is making a healing quilt with friends and family using Lucas’ clothing. And so begins another thread... I am with you in this endearing endeavor, Barb.

I leave you with these... Tekla's unique and beautiful Spring peonies.