Monday, June 13, 2011

What Passes Between Us

A woman kneels as she empties the cooled water from the canner onto the annuals she planted out front,  and she sees her Grandma do the same thing, revealed suddenly in the memories she didn't know would become lessons about how to live until she was actually doing them.

The papers saved from each stick of butter, folded in half and half again and tucked away in the fridge until a recipe calls for a greased pan.

When she put the frozen blueberries in my mouth, I went back to Grandma's kitchen as she shaved frozen bing cherries from a white container and gave them to me, cool and sweet, the tart summer kiss of a nurtured tree giving back what she gave.

"What is this?"  "It's baling twine."  "Why do you have it there?"  "Because it reminds me of my Grandpa, and you never know when you'll need to tie something together."  Orange, dry rope: the summer girl  follows behind the baler imagining the mechanical fingers that tie and cut the knot, alfalfa and dust caught in the sweat of her cheek and her heart.  She doesn't know it yet, but these days spent in the field will teach her that work and love are inseparable and that no payment is adequate because it is folly to expect it.  The work is payment, a gift of doing.  The love is payment: his proud smile, a hat removed as she finishes the day exhausted and dirty and filled with some new joy she knows she can't live without.

She saved each scrap, no matter how small and would mend them together until they were useful again because "we are to waste nothing," she said with a fierceness I hadn't seen in her before.  Her life was made up of these small, saved things--the toothpaste cap that became Barbie's cup, my name stitched from the smallest, saved scraps on a Kindergarten book bag because she was proud of me, too.  

If you could hear the homemade wind chime hung beneath the tree that moved the breath of God over a tiny thing she made to record His presence, His ever-present peace under a tree she'd go to at the edge of Grandpa's fields around midnight when the small white lights across the mesa were turning in for the night, and she could be alone, listening to Him breathe.  And He heard her, too.  She knew this.  She knows this.


  1. beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

  2. This is wonderful. I hope you publish many of your writings someday.

    And I must say...saving butter papers to grease pans is a GREAT idea. :)

  3. Your grandma sounds like an amazing lady. :)