Monday, August 13, 2012


A few weeks ago Liam and I and the vegan were on the way to my parents house to watch the landing of the 2012 canoe journey (Really, you should click this link, it is an amazing thing and was a privilege to see.) and we stopped at an estate sale.  By "stopped" I mean we followed the signs at least 15 minutes out of town to a little lake were the estate sale people were dismantling the contents of this house / life out onto tables and boxes and piles, and marking everything with masking tape price tags. We were there on a Sunday afternoon; everything half price.

It turns out this was the same little lake that I lived on briefly when I was just out of college and working for the first time.  So long ago.  Vegan said, I remember hearing when you were living out here.  You were with . . . then.  Yeah, I remember; long time ago. . .then we moved to that house in town and you moved into the garage apartment.  Right, and I parked the sauna in the back yard.  Yeah; I remember that sauna, you were with . . . then.  Right, she married someone who sells cars. 

These estate sales are strange to me.  I think, where are the family / children / friends / who are meant to take custody of this stuff?  I look around and wonder who went first, the husband whose tools we are sifting through in the garage or the wife, whose measuring cups we are sorting through in the kitchen.  I wonder what year they took that vacation to Yellowstone and brought this book home.  When they last looked at all these slides or listened to all these records.  Whether they bothered to put up all those Christmas decorations in recent years, or if they'd just been in the box.

These grandmother's flower garden hexagons were stuffed in a zip-lock bag on a table with holiday napkins, random guest-type towels, and assorted other stuff.  They weren't on the sewing table, which I had already rummaged through for notions and dressmaker's paper.   Twenty dollars, except I paid ten.  I wasn't going to take them home but ran back in to get them at the end.

I didn't realize until we got to my mother's house how many there were.  Twenty-five, about.  All hand sewed.   The needle and thread were still in one of the blue ones, almost done.  The hexagon template tucked in with the work. 

So I guess I'll try to pick up this work in progress and do my bit.  Finish the blue one.  Find some cotton and cut the white hexagons and start putting it together.  Find out if I'm capable of these seam allowances which appear to be all about one-eight of an inch.  Crazy straight and even.  I'll need to track down a thimble.

I wonder if she loved the sewing or if it was a pain in the ass to her.  I wonder why she put it down; and who rolled it up and stuffed it into the zip-lock bag.  How it came to be unfinished.

Yesterday on the way back from a dinner something the vegan and I decided to try to drive back to his house through the forest.  So in we go and up, up, it's all managed land, a mix of what passes for clear cuts these days and deep woods.   Down and around following the line of some creek or another, out onto the gravel roads, and then up again, skirt the top of the peak, and start to work our way around the next hill.  We take the downhill road, getting dark now, but we're close.  It's a less traveled road and we go through tunnels of branches, leaves and sticks whacking the car on all sides.  Then, just in the twilight: tree across the road.  And us without a chainsaw.  We turn around.  Go back to the last fork.  Take the uphill road this time; a mile to a dead end.  Turn around and head to the next fork back, debate.  Try the downhill again.  Find ourselves following a different creek bed, down a ways and through a campground.  It's dark now; the sparks from the fires make a surprising light.  The vegan says, you know, I think this is Porter Creek.  We're going to come out of the forest not eight miles up the same road from where we went in.  Except two hours later.   And we did.  Drove home on the main roads and watched for meteors.  

Will's birthday today.  I have a long day at work up north.  We'll get take out, and GG and GoGo will come over, and I made two very small yogurt / tea cakes.  One vanilla chocolate chip, because Liam will like it.  The other lemon with rosemary because Will would have liked it. 

1 comment:

Kate said...

Oh sweetie,
I am not sure I have ever read a better written post.
lovely, poignant, full of waybackwhens, wonderings, long and winding. Just like life, like memory...

it always gets dark faster when I am lost.

with such love,