Salvage

The decoy is a treasure. Its carved wooden shape, light as air. On the base is a hand painted scarlet letter. I recognize the script. For this reason, I pause. Some objects are worth the keep.

Father was a duck hunter, a truth we spent years debating ’round the Sunday table. I disagreed with his choice to hunt game. He defended the fact. Wild duck was one case.

“I’ve put food on the table.”

In silent protest, I’d refuse a forkful of roast duck.

“Excuse me from the table.”

As a child, he’d wake me at the just the right time. Before dawn, we’d ride to the slough, his Pointer a guard, on the back seat. The dog wears rubber boots, custom ordered from a hunting supply catalogue. Father protects the dog’s paws from damp ground.

At the slough, I am directed to a clearing on the bank. There is a view of the water. A thermos of cocoa warms my hands. Tucked within a paper bag: cheese sandwiches wrapped in wax paper.

“Be still,” he says. “Stay visible.”

When one is still in thought and body, one hears every whisper and notices every nuance. For instance, land and objects change in light. Bulrush reeds turn sage, to olive, to black.

To pass time, I weave tall grass into crowns, search for shapes and faces within clouds. I listen as wind rustles through the rush. When the ducks fly over the marsh, I plug my ears and rock.

At day’s end, father gathers the wooden decoys, tossing them into a gunny sack. In a separate one, he stacks the still warm bodies of duck.

I think ducks beautiful, their bodies smooth as velvet, feathers tiered and shimmering in light. Even dead, their faces remain calm.

As we drive home, a certain gravitas sets down between us. Music from the radio hangs in the balance. Country roads turn to city streets. In silence I find words for Sunday.

If Father were here today, I’d speak the same unwavering truth. Ann Patchett wrote it best, ” you have to be willing to accept not what you wanted to have happen, but what happens… By the time you get out of the marsh, you will have written a novel so devoid of ducks it will shock you.”

He’d nod toward the decoy on the sideboard. We’d agree to disagree. He’d hug me tighter, knowing we are more alike than different.

The decoy rests on the sideboard, freshened up, beneath two coats of ‘French Linen.’ ~ Annie Sloan

A beautiful quote from author Ann Patchett~

“…fiction writing is like duck hunting. You go to the right place at the right time with the right dog. You get into the water before dawn, wearing a little protective gear, then you stand behind some reeds and wait for the story to present itself…You choose the place and the day. You pick the gun and the dog. You have the desire to blow the duck apart for reasons that are entirely your own. But you have to be willing to accept not what you wanted to have happen, but what happens… By the time you get out of the marsh, you will have written a novel so devoid of ducks it will shock you.”

― Ann Patchett

‘The Little Prince’ Quote

“You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.” 
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

First to flower is, ‘Gertrude Jeckyll,’ the perfect English Rose. Shy, lowly, oh so lovely is this Cinderella of the rose garden.  This royal is a bower Queen vigorously climbing the wall in search of light. Perfect scrolled buds unfurl into glowing, pink blooms that tower and droop. Crush a petal or linger. Inhale her quintessential Old Rose fragrance. Bewitched and bothered, you’ll fall in love.

~’Gertrude Jeckyll’: An English Shrub Rose

Bred by: David Austin

“It’s the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important…People have forgotten this truth, but you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, ‘The Little Prince’

 

Words and Wisdom

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Certain words or phrases collect and layer. Inspirational bits of wisdom for those less than confident moments when I forget to fly and instead, trip and  fall. Which is literally what happened. Rushing up the stairs, I caught my foot on the edge of a safety gate and flew. For a brief second in time. Walls shook. The crash was not gentle.

To distract my brain from an aching body, advil and creative pursuits were necessary. That’s how it works for me- find comfort in a project.

For this project I used only what I had “at hand.” The wooden board is from Michael’s.

http://www.michaels.com/artminds-beveled-wood-parenthesis-plaque/10265841.html#q=wooden+plaques&pmpt=qualifying&sz=24&start=31

I painted the board with trusted Annie Sloan Pure White chalk paint.

“Print” a quote and slip it (right side up) over a sheet of graphite paper. Pencil the letters of the quote through the graphite. Once transferred to the painted board, you’re ready to outline the quote’s letters with paint. Use a fine tipped brush and a graphite or black shade of craft paint. When dry, lightly sand.

And yes, I fall. This sign is a gentle reminder to get back up and try again.

Quote Sign IMG_0165

About A Door

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Years ago I discovered this door at an auction. The auction site was far from the city and “Junking” wasn’t the swishy chic business that it is today. I can not explain the allure to vintage. It is a portal to the past. Perhaps “old”appears truer, faithful, stronger. Or do certain pieces conjure an emotional response? Mirrored moments of love lost, coveted memories, and poignant sorrow from regret. That which we toss or lose, from people to things.

All of the above musings ring true. I also appreciate the dedication to craft, whether it be writing, painting, music or woodworking. The rewrites, brushstrokes, the sound bites, the turn of a leg or the dove tailed edges of a drawer, all suggest old world quality and showcase the artisan’s passion. Maybe it’s the passion piece that grabs, an ageless love that forever shines.

Yet what is it about a door? Throw open the door to reunion. Boot through the door in the heat of crime. Lock the door. Unlock it. Shut the door.

There is an old soul that lives in me. She flows through my eyes to show the house where the door once stood. “Open the door,” she whispers and my hand reaches forth to push upon the cracked ceramic plate. We stand in the kitchen, voyeurs of a life. She gestures to the heart of the room. A wooden table graces the centre. Flour is scattered on top,  a rolling-pin waits. We’ve come home.

***

I recall that day in the valley. The auction house was empty of people. Cast off pieces from lives lived dumped along hallways and atop sideboards. Did anyone care? The door leaned against a wall. Solid oak, it waited. Tall amidst a short pile of old metal watering cans, wooden handled rakes and a box of battered licence plates, it stood out-of-place. There was something bespoke about its simple yet majestic presence. Was it the art deco glass that elevated the door from humble to proud?

I paused, fell in love, tossed in a bid and left with a door.

Sadly, I left the door in an aging shed. For thirty years it lay on a wooden floor.  Forgotten, it languished in darkness, gathering dust. Spider egg sacs clung to the edges and nestled in the crooks and crannies. Moisture weathered the finish. It waited for someone to remember.

Until yesterday. Yesterday I wrestled it into the light. Gently, I cleaned and polished the glass, dusted off the egg sacs and sanded the oak.

Magic flowed and imagination sparked. We entered into a dance of sorts. My hands held the sandpaper block as fingers pressed and moved in step with the oak grain. I stepped away and judged. Far too lovely to lay dismissed in a shed.

An architectural piece, it will serve as a symbol of hope, “One door closes, another opens.” Its quiet presence states, grace others that stand on the threshold.

What is this door’s story?

I envision a rambling estate in the English countryside. Laughter rings from the cutting garden. Wee children flit as fairies do amongst the hollyhocks and sunflowers. A man walks the  long gravel path to the once well appointed home. He lifts his hat and knocks upon the door. It opens…