Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bad Hair Day

More than twenty years ago, I spent my last $400 on this.  It was money I'd saved to run away from home, to get a divorce and get my life back.  And there, in a sand stream, in the middle of the San Francisco Landscape Garden Show, was this time-washed face, carved by Marcia Donahue.

It is the face my mother draws still, the face of my childhood, the face of love notes and cards and cheery mornings with our all-girl family.  It graced my mother's grocery lists, our birthday cards, reminders taped to the back door (turn off the teakettle. watch for barn owls. get milk.)

And there it was.  It was the last unsold boulder in her sand stream.  The features are faint; you can only see them in oblique light.  How Marcia found my mother's drawings and translated them into stone  is still a mystery.  I have another of her sculptures now, a huge tranquil face purchased much later, made just for me.. It sits just outside my kitchen window.  I love it, it calms me.  But this one spoke to me like a jolt to the heart.

The problem was, it had never found a comfortable place in my garden.  At the base of the dogwood it just looked like a stone.  Propped against a hedge it became a doorstop.  It had never found a home - until now.
I was cleaning up for a party and I had the stone tucked under my arm, looking - again - for the perfect place, a place where it would feel right.  Look right.  Be comfortable.  Sit well.

As I walked past the Miscanthus in an old galvanized pail (trash can), I pulled out some spent pansies with my spare hand, and left a big lot of bare dirt in the pot.  Front and Center.  Oops.

So I set the face in the bare spot and went inside, and when I walked out the door later her smile stopped me in my tracks.  She is perfect.

Thank you mommy.  For all the sandwiches, filling up to the edges and cut on the diagonal.  For fevers weathered together, for fudge beaten on the back steps.  For sleeping outside all summer, for dresses loaned (and sometimes ruined - sorry!) for skirts altered for cello recitals.  For perfume removed from purple prom dresses.  For always being there.  With a smile.  I adore you.  You are my best friend.  I love you so much.

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