fabrics sept 2010 – letters to the editor

GOING QUIETLY ON HIS WAY

(Conclusion)

Previously

countryside.One particular afternoon — I can’t remember exactly when– we came upon a white clapboard farmhouse in the country.? My parents knew the couple who lived there — he was a retired farmer, she a music teacher.? They had a nice shady place with a comfort-able swing on the wide front porch.? As we passed by the house, Daddy noticed that the old man was slumped over in the swing.? A glass of iced tea had fallen from his hand.? Daddy pulled our car into the yard so that he could go see if the man was sick or hurt.

Mother stayed in the car with my brother, sister, and me while Daddy walked the short distance to the porch. He reached and touched the old man whose body already felt cold. The old man was not breathing; there was no pulse, so Daddy gently lifted the man’s head and closed his eyes.? He picked up the fallen glass and placed it on a nearby table.? Looking toward Mother in the car, he silently communicated the situation.? Then, he turned toward the front door to call the old man’s wife — now a widow.

She came to the door and opened it.? Daddy reached out to her and, in his quiet, compassionate manner, told her what had happened.? He held her arm, and walked her over to the swing, to see her husband’s body.? While she reached out to touch him, tears streamed down her face. Daddy held onto her, kind, calm, and strong.

There were no sirens, no alarms, and no rescue vehicles.? We children sat talking softly in the car, oblivious to what had happened.? Mother knew full well the old man had died, but kept us occupied, distracted, and quiet.? Daddy stayed with the wife until neighbors came to sit with her and the old man’s body could be taken away.?

While I was there, I never heard the story until many years later.

The old woman was still an active music teacher, and one day we ran into her at a local music event. Mother spoke to her and introduced me.? The old woman took my hand, told me what a fine man my daddy was, and how he had helped her on that sad day long ago.

Since Daddy died, I have thought about that day.? I have pictured the old man who went out to rest in his porch swing on a quiet Sunday afternoon and then, unnoticed, slipped silently away.? ?It was good and right that Daddy came along and gently, without alarm or fanfare, and did the necessary things.?

How like my daddy it was then and at his own end. Without alarm or fanfare, in the stillness of an early autumn morning, he also slipped quietly and peacefully back to God.

Mary Bridgman

**

TREDWAY’S FEN

Update: July 2010

As I sit here writing, I look through sun dappled leaves, balsam boughs, and a screened window at Lake Superior. There’s a slight sound of water washing over the rocks, birds singing, and the traffic noise faint in the distance.

I am sitting inside a small octagonal building. The builder called it a gazebo, I call it a small cabin. It has windows on six of the eight sides. The walls and ceiling are tongue-and-groove cedar. The windows and floor are of pine, all finished to a rich blond color. From my chair, the windows allow me to see a 270-degree view from two feet to nine feet high. The only place I can’t see, is the neighbors house.

Some Ninepatch readers asked me what became of my property in the UP. The last time I wrote in Ninepatch about “Tredway’s Fen” was January 2009.

I had been trying to put some sort of a structure on this property since 2002 and was very discouraged. I had just had a variance hearing to address the setback of my “yurt” platform. I had mistakenly built this deck six feet closer to Lake Superior than the required distance.

If you recall, the neighbors were very adamant that this structure should not be put anywhere that it might obstruct their view. When the zoning administration said, “As long as you have the deck moved to the required setback, we’re fine with it,” my neighbor went ballistic. He called the Health Department and made a big stink about my composting toilet. (It seems a porta potty is OK though. Go figure!)

In June of 2009, I was ordered to remove that toilet or be prosecuted. (It seems that the law states that in order to have a composting toilet on the property, I must have an approved sewage disposal system. Since I had been denied all sewage disposal systems, I was “up the creek.”

All of this time I had been letting things flow, and giving it to God. So, I just decided to “let go” of this whole idea of the yurt and composting toilet. I put them up for sale and both sold to the first person that called. Hallelujah!

Now, on the way to my place that day the yurt sold, I saw a screened gazebo. Since I still had a deck and the zoning commission had given me permission to move it, I called a licensed builder. I said “I’d like you to build me a screened gazebo so I can sit bug-free and look at the lake.” When he sent me the proposal, it was this structure where I now sit. I called back and said “Can you get that through the ‘powers that be’? ”

He said, “I think I can.”

So one year later, here I am.

Palma

**

A CUT-AND-PASTE

Sherryl (Apr.’10) hosted our cut and paste with Frances and me. I arrived a half-hour late, apologetic and bearing Chinese chicken salad I had made. We quickly ate, then moved to the basement where Sherryl had a long table set up with materials: magazines, glue sticks, scissors and mounting paper. We talked, cut out images and pasted them together for a couple of hours. I created only one collage.

There are ten images on my art. I found only two or three of them tonight while flipping through Sherryl’s magazine stash: the hands-holding-earth illustration, the rose-basket-teacup-jar painting, and perhaps the “strength” illustration. The rest were from my own collection, already cut out for such an occasion.

The collage is kind of a self-portrait of my spirit and identity. The faith sparrow comes from an Advent Sunday Order of Service handout at my church. The “strength” illustration speaks to me of how I am when I am in harmony with nature. Frances and Sherryl pointed out that the fruit baskets are strong fertility symbols. The drawing of the two leaves remind me of the trees surrounding my church that have the same leaves. Of course I also identify with books, typing and jigsaw puzzles — all enjoyable pastimes.

Carol

(Aug.’10) adds, “I made a bright yellow fan of large leaves (from the church’s tree) several months ago. I tied several of them together with a gold wire. Lovely.” **

A MEDITATION EXPERIENCE

Recently, I attended a HU meditation.(In the religion called Eckankar, HU is another name for God.) We chanted for twenty minutes with our eyes closed. It sounded like music with all of chanting in different keys. Lovely.

Hard for me to chant so long. Later, the leader told me I didn’t have to keep chanting. I could just listen and meditate.

It was my first chanting meditation, and I think I like the silent type better. Maybe I would like the sounds of chant if I didn’t have to participate.

After the experience I bought a pamphlet, “Spiritual Wisdom on Prayer, Meditation and Contemplation.” I liked a part about non-directed prayer. It said that instead of asking for specific help, it was good to use a non-directed prayer like, “Thy will be done.”

It’s unconditional love that makes such a prayer.

Dottie

**

(July ’10) adds, “Another part in the little booklet I liked said, “As you sing HU, you’re not asking God to help you. You’re saying that whatever needs to be in life, you are willing to accept it, no matter what it is.” (May’10) adds, “Thank you, Higher Power, for seeing what I couldn’t see. This is better than anything I had imagined.” (Aug. ’10) adds, “This incident epitomizes, for me, the quiet humility that characterized my father’s life. To my surprise, neither of my siblings knew about it until I wrote it down and sent it to them. Once again, I am reminded of the priceless value of preserving our memories through the written word.”: Mary remembers her father and Sunday afternoons when he drove the family into the 

GOING QUIETLY ON HIS WAY

(Conclusion)

 

Previously

 

: Mary remembers her father and Sunday afternoons when he drove the family into the countryside.

One particular afternoon — I can’t remember exactly when– we came upon a white clapboard farmhouse in the country.? My parents knew the couple who lived there — he was a retired farmer, she a music teacher.? They had a nice shady place with a comfort-able swing on the wide front porch.? As we passed by the house, Daddy noticed that the old man was slumped over in the swing.? A glass of iced tea had fallen from his hand.? Daddy pulled our car into the yard so that he could go see if the man was sick or hurt.

Mother stayed in the car with my brother, sister, and me while Daddy walked the short distance to the porch. He reached and touched the old man whose body already felt cold. The old man was not breathing; there was no pulse, so Daddy gently lifted the man’s head and closed his eyes.? He picked up the fallen glass and placed it on a nearby table.? Looking toward Mother in the car, he silently communicated the situation.? Then, he turned toward the front door to call the old man’s wife — now a widow.

She came to the door and opened it.? Daddy reached out to her and, in his quiet, compassionate manner, told her what had happened.? He held her arm, and walked her over to the swing, to see her husband’s body.? While she reached out to touch him, tears streamed down her face. Daddy held onto her, kind, calm, and strong.

There were no sirens, no alarms, and no rescue vehicles.? We children sat talking softly in the car, oblivious to what had happened.? Mother knew full well the old man had died, but kept us occupied, distracted, and quiet.? Daddy stayed with the wife until neighbors came to sit with her and the old man’s body could be taken away.?

While I was there, I never heard the story until many years later.

The old woman was still an active music teacher, and one day we ran into her at a local music event. Mother spoke to her and introduced me.? The old woman took my hand, told me what a fine man my daddy was, and how he had helped her on that sad day long ago.

Since Daddy died, I have thought about that day.? I have pictured the old man who went out to rest in his porch swing on a quiet Sunday afternoon and then, unnoticed, slipped silently away.? ?It was good and right that Daddy came along and gently, without alarm or fanfare, and did the necessary things.?

How like my daddy it was then and at his own end. Without alarm or fanfare, in the stillness of an early autumn morning, he also slipped quietly and peacefully back to God.

Mary Bridgman

(Aug. ’10) adds, “This incident epitomizes, for me, the quiet humility that characterized my father’s life. To my surprise, neither of my siblings knew about it until I wrote it down and sent it to them. Once again, I am reminded of the priceless value of preserving our memories through the written word.”

**

TREDWAY’S FEN

Update: July 2010

As I sit here writing, I look through sun dappled leaves, balsam boughs, and a screened window at Lake Superior. There’s a slight sound of water washing over the rocks, birds singing, and the traffic noise faint in the distance.

I am sitting inside a small octagonal building. The builder called it a gazebo, I call it a small cabin. It has windows on six of the eight sides. The walls and ceiling are tongue-and-groove cedar. The windows and floor are of pine, all finished to a rich blond color. From my chair, the windows allow me to see a 270-degree view from two feet to nine feet high. The only place I can’t see, is the neighbors house.

Some Ninepatch readers asked me what became of my property in the UP. The last time I wrote in Ninepatch about “Tredway’s Fen” was January 2009.

I had been trying to put some sort of a structure on this property since 2002 and was very discouraged. I had just had a variance hearing to address the setback of my “yurt” platform. I had mistakenly built this deck six feet closer to Lake Superior than the required distance.

If you recall, the neighbors were very adamant that this structure should not be put anywhere that it might obstruct their view. When the zoning administration said, “As long as you have the deck moved to the required setback, we’re fine with it,” my neighbor went ballistic. He called the Health Department and made a big stink about my composting toilet. (It seems a porta potty is OK though. Go figure!)

In June of 2009, I was ordered to remove that toilet or be prosecuted. (It seems that the law states that in order to have a composting toilet on the property, I must have an approved sewage disposal system. Since I had been denied all sewage disposal systems, I was “up the creek.”

All of this time I had been letting things flow, and giving it to God. So, I just decided to “let go” of this whole idea of the yurt and composting toilet. I put them up for sale and both sold to the first person that called. Hallelujah!

Now, on the way to my place that day the yurt sold, I saw a screened gazebo. Since I still had a deck and the zoning commission had given me permission to move it, I called a licensed builder. I said “I’d like you to build me a screened gazebo so I can sit bug-free and look at the lake.” When he sent me the proposal, it was this structure where I now sit. I called back and said “Can you get that through the ‘powers that be’? ”

He said, “I think I can.”

So one year later, here I am.

Palma

(May’10) adds, “Thank you, Higher Power, for seeing what I couldn’t see. This is better than anything I had imagined.”

**

A CUT-AND-PASTE

Sherryl (Apr.’10) hosted our cut and paste with Frances and me. I arrived a half-hour late, apologetic and bearing Chinese chicken salad I had made. We quickly ate, then moved to the basement where Sherryl had a long table set up with materials: magazines, glue sticks, scissors and mounting paper. We talked, cut out images and pasted them together for a couple of hours. I created only one collage.

There are ten images on my art. I found only two or three of them tonight while flipping through Sherryl’s magazine stash: the hands-holding-earth illustration, the rose-basket-teacup-jar painting, and perhaps the “strength” illustration. The rest were from my own collection, already cut out for such an occasion.

The collage is kind of a self-portrait of my spirit and identity. The faith sparrow comes from an Advent Sunday Order of Service handout at my church. The “strength” illustration speaks to me of how I am when I am in harmony with nature. Frances and Sherryl pointed out that the fruit baskets are strong fertility symbols. The drawing of the two leaves remind me of the trees surrounding my church that have the same leaves. Of course I also identify with books, typing and jigsaw puzzles — all enjoyable pastimes.

Carol

(Aug.’10) adds, “I made a bright yellow fan of large leaves (from the church’s tree) several months ago. I tied several of them together with a gold wire. Lovely.”

**

A MEDITATION EXPERIENCE

Recently, I attended a HU meditation.(In the religion called Eckankar, HU is another name for God.) We chanted for twenty minutes with our eyes closed. It sounded like music with all of chanting in different keys. Lovely.

Hard for me to chant so long. Later, the leader told me I didn’t have to keep chanting. I could just listen and meditate.

It was my first chanting meditation, and I think I like the silent type better. Maybe I would like the sounds of chant if I didn’t have to participate.

After the experience I bought a pamphlet, “Spiritual Wisdom on Prayer, Meditation and Contemplation.” I liked a part about non-directed prayer. It said that instead of asking for specific help, it was good to use a non-directed prayer like, “Thy will be done.”

It’s unconditional love that makes such a prayer.

Dottie

(July ’10) adds, “Another part in the little booklet I liked said, “As you sing HU, you’re not asking God to help you. You’re saying that whatever needs to be in life, you are willing to accept it, no matter what it is.”

**

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