Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Orchard

I have dreamed

Of accomplishment.

I have fed


I have traded

Nights of sleep

For a length of work.

Lo, and I have discovered

How soft bloom

Turns to green fruit

Which turns to sweet fruit

Lo, and I have discovered

All winds blow cold

At last,

And the leaves,

So pretty, so many,


In the great, black

Packet of time,

In the great, black

Packet of ambition,

And the ripeness

Of the apple

Is its downfall.

This morning I awake to blackness in the town of Tucker, outside of Atlanta, Georgia. I’m here for a workshop on Restorative Circles. As I awoke, I had a clear image of the good work of my mother. In her middle years she was a quilter. These later years though she mostly sleeps, and when awake, challenges those who care for her and wish for her a better life. She has dementia. The gravity of the years is upon her and she is an apple on the way down. As her Power of Attorney and her Medical Power of Attorney it often falls to me to be the enforcer and persuader for her to make decisions that benefit her, and do not harm her. Many days my discomfort, pain, and loneliness of having her slip away so slowly leaves me judging the worth of myself, her, and the world at large – for surely such sweet blooms should never turn to moldy apples littering the ground.

But her quilts endure. She worked on one quilt a good part of my adolescent, a patchwork of embroidered birds. Later she gave me an appliqué penguin quilt. I have both still and they are used every winter, a little worse for wear. My mother’s brain may be fragmenting into pieces, as will my precious quilts she made for me, and frankly, my body is a little worse for wear. Somehow though as I think of the beauty and warmth of love and care sewn into these quilts I seem at peace. For the pieces of her life will endure in quilt, in me, and in those that come after. There is no way to restore her to her youth, and there will come a time when her quilts are beyond restoring, but life will have come full circle. Thank you mother for your loving work. Thank you all for the work you do.

What is your work and how does it bear fruition?

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