Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The following is a work of fiction.
The knobbly hands of the old woman were never still. They were surprisingly steady though as she moved the needle up an out of the fabric and then down and back through. She was rocking back and forth in the old, wooden rocking chair her late husband had built for her. It was here that she felt safest and most peaceful and reflective. She stared off as if to an unknown distance. For she was completely blind.
She had never learned to use those modern sewing machines and she never wanted to. Though her hand ached from severe arthritis most of the time. She wanted to feel the thread between her fingers. It was as if she communed with the fabric itself as she connected it to the other pieces that had also once been lonely and dull. Together they were art.
Of course, she needed someone to help her these days. She needed the right shapes, and she needed the right colors. She had trained the small girl sitting close by her, near the fire to know which part she was working on and which part she would need next. The old woman was from a time when children were seen and not heard. This quiet, bookish great-granddaughter was uniquely suited to keep her company in all respects. The world was too noisy and too impatient nowadays. Nobody slowed down. Nobody knew quiet reflection and peace, but the old woman knew. For that, she was able to create as nobody else in her family was able.
She used to sell her quilts for extra money when she was young. She was taught the art by her grandmother. Her skill was beyond that of her grandmother's and her great-grandmother's. For she wove stories into her quilts. Pictures of places she'd only imagined and some she had seen only in photographs adorned her masterpieces. These days it was the stories of her life. Her hometown, her old family home, where she raised her children, the cities her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were born in were all lined on her walls folded up in her trunks and tucked away in the attic. Then there were the gift quilts she had given to her family. They would have them always. They would pass them on to their children.
The old woman touched the child next to her. The young girl looked up from her book and handed her "Granny" the next and last piece of this particular quilt. "Thank you child," the old woman said as she grasped the hand of the youngest member of her family.
No one knew this was the very last quilt.