Saturday, June 26, 2010

Many Beautiful Things

I've been meaning to tell you all about Stephanie Lee for months. The incredible metal and plaster book she gifted me sits quietly on my dresser..well, more like an alter of sorts I guess, in my bedroom on a stack of my collection of jewelry boxes I spoke of many months ago. I pass by it each day and I remember her words to me, the only ones I remember by heart, "Now that the sweetness of your jewelry is in the world..." and I think to myself, who could give such a gift....a gift created with so many hours of work and given so freely. I cried when I opened it, I remember....

because I knew about the hours, the smell of the solder, the hand stitching, the carefully smoothed plaster pages...I knew of the self that goes into an artists work, and each time I pass it by, I smile to myself in disbelief that it is actually mine.
So many times, I've caressed it and admired it and brailled my fingers over the smooth cool plaster....thinking to myself, whatever goes into this book has to be, must be as amazing as the treasure itself...as beautiful as the one who created it...
...and It  finally happened...only yesterday; and want to keep this tiny memory for the rest of my days, and retrieve it when I begin to wonder if I've really made a difference in this world...as I do sometimes....as I think maybe we all do.
We have five children. Our oldest girl, now 19, is on her way to her own life. She still lives at home, working and going to college and saving little by little. She is becoming her own woman now, yet I see the little girl in her emerge now and again. The little girl who sleeps with kittens...
and brings me feathers....yes, she knows of my adoration of feathers and birds and natural things and somehow she carries that inside her everywhere...a seed that I planted so long ago, when I would take her for strolls and present her with gifts of colored leaves and feathers and dandelions to blow and make wishes on. Before her memories began.
Yesterday, she brought me the tiniest, most perfect feather. Not just any feather, but one she found and carefully carried all the way home from her walk from work...and presented to me as if she knew how much it would mean; like she knew she was giving me everything she had, as she smiled to herself with the light of wonder in her eyes.

A first tiny entry into "Many Beautiful Things". Not a favorite poem or a love letter or a concert ticket or a pressed blossom or leaf, but an ordinary yet extraordinary feather and the memory of that smile and a mindfulness; a single profound thoughtfulness from one so understandably caught up in the swirls of her 19th year.
Later, I will write a line or two on light paper and "marry" it to the beautiful plaster page, as Stephanie so eloquently says to do. and I shall find a tiny vellum envelope for my tiny grey feather...my gift of love that will reside within a gift of such love.