Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Bees glide lazily
upon late summer winds drunk
legs pollen heavy.
It is interesting what happens when I sit down to a blank page and begin to write. For Gratitude Sunday I try to keep a lighter tone and if you read me regularly you know that doesn’t always happen. Blank pages can be intimidating. Or enlightening. Or blank.
On the wall above my bed hang two framed hand embroidered prayers. They are a matched pair with little lambs, sunny flower faces, and singing birds. The prayers are simple, the kind taught to small children, rhyming and easy to remember.
The one on top shows the lambs frolicking, flowers smiling at the onlooker, blue birds joyfully singing while in flight, and the prayer in cursive script reads: “Thank you for the world so sweet/Thank you for the food we eat/Thank you for the birds that sing/Thank you God for everything.”
The bottom embroidery shows the curled up lambs sleeping, the flowers with Mona Lisa smiles, nodding heads, and closed eyes, and the blue birds with their heads tucked under their wings. The prayer reads, “Now I lay me down to sleep/I pray thee Lord my soul to keep/If I should die before I wake/I pray thee Lord my soul to take.”
These two framed embroideries have hung beside my bed for as long as I remember. I thought I made them when I was five. I was sure I had muscle memory of doing these pictures and loving how they turned out. I did a lot of things when I was five, learned to sew and embroider, learned to tie my shoes, learned to read and write, went to first grade, went to Sunday School, and loved three siblings, two parents, and a whole bunch of relatives.
I took the textiles down a couple years ago to clean them thoroughly and really looked at them. The stitches were not those of a tiny child learning to pull a needle through a piece of clothe to create a picture with thread. They were the precise stitches of an accomplished embroiderer.
Next time I visited my mom I asked her about the two prayers. “Oh,” she said, “I made those when I was pregnant with you. I was so excited because you were my first. I didn’t have time to make any for the rest of the kids.” They are a one of a kind project.
A little shudder went through me when she said that; I told her I thought I remembered making them when I was five. She said, “You should remember it. You were there for every stitch. But you weren’t five. You weren’t born yet.” Making these two prayers was one of the first things we did together in 1953. I was already absorbing lessons of gratitude and humility.
Mom encouraged any artistic efforts by her children. She came from a simple down to earth farming family, but she loved to read and she tried her hand at many arts and crafts, from oil painting to decoupage, from hand quilting to picture framing. She dug and made a garden no matter where she lived.
I love textiles, but my skill is not accomplished like hers. I can barely sew a straight stitch and my arts and crafts result in a peculiar primitive style. I could look at doilies and embroideries and materials all day at an antique store or browsing through the internet. A little surfing led me to many beautiful pieces of embroidery but none like mine, truly one of a kind. Perhaps it came from a create your own kit, as I found some similar examples.
Each night I see these prayers before I lie down for the night. I say the words and many more in prayer. There is power in words. I thank my mother, my dad, my ancestors and all people who share my blood and all others who don’t, God, the Goddess, all other deities, the universe, myself, and every other speck of matter for the memory of being so intimately with her in arriving here. This one something special shared just between the two of us, two embroidered prayers hanging on the wall above my bed is physical evidence of the tie between us, bound together forever in memory. They will mean nothing to anybody when I am gone; they will merely be a handmade 1953 textile with no story to whomever owns them next, disconnected from the two of us who created them.
Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – my back strain kept me grounded around the house this week, I missed the star jasmine at a neighbor’s house up the street so I borrowed a picture from the internet; I am forever trying my hand at moon shots and here’s my silly feeble attempt to get the September supermoon, oh well, try, try again; and two attempts at catching the color of the light, the scene outside my back door with the morning sun from the west; the same scene with the sunset behind it from the east.
Currently Reading – Bad Feminist (2014, social science) by Roxane Gay; We Are Not Ourselves (2014, fiction) by Matthew Thomas; The 48 Laws of Power (1998, psychology) by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers; The Fluoride Deception (2006, medical politics) by Christopher Bryson. Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
- The sweet dewy fragrance of air on a late summer morning.
- The scent of grapes ripening in the glorious late summer sun.
- Still having the capacity to think and imagine.
- An invitation to dinner though we haven’t managed to get together yet. There is always next week and the next. That’s the funny thing about eating; you have to do it every day.
- The many schools and organizations who play sports within hearing distance of my house. How invigorating the cheers are when they are raised in unison.
- Getting some good professional medical advice on gaining relief from my back pain.
- The son driving me around on my Saturday shopping tour.
- Digital photography.
- Learning new technology. Learning anything. Learning from everybody and anybody. Listening.
- Allowing I’m not always right. But mostly I am. Laughing at myself.
- An acquaintance who has given me permission to write about her and her art projects.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch