Memory Leans Back Into the Branches of a Tree

When Rich Theroux stepped up to the ‘Wheel of Doom’ last evening, he had us duped for a few short moments, but then told us for the 11th Gorilla Battle, the energizing concepts were to be our own.  I stepped toward my blank panel, fairly tanked out.  There was an open space that needed to be filled in just two hours.  What to paint?

My beautiful mother has faced the challenges of Alzheimers disease and my father has been her most attentive caregiver since she turned seventy five.  It is a mysterious  and challenging disease and it is heart-breaking some times (some days some moments) as the expression of its impact on my mother’s brain demands adjustment of patience, acceptance, strength and love.

Whenever my mind is not filled up with the matters of the day…writing or painting or thinking about my three beautiful children or my spiritual tap is not turned on to the ever-supportive love of God,  that wee space is filled up with thoughts of my mother…and of memory.

I’m not certain why, but I came to the memory of warm afternoons with Laurel Beth Barclay under and in the strong arms of a tree.  The year was 1963; the place, Battle Creek, Michigan.  She was another one of my forever-friends.  We enjoyed outdoor adventures, but most special to us was the time shared in one particular tree.  Once my military father received his posting, I began again to let go.  The last picture I have of Laurel in my mind’s eye, she was leaning back in a strong arm of the tree and I was sitting down below, looking up at her.  She asked if I would always remember her.  I told her I always would.  Last night gives testament to the fact that, indeed, I had remembered.

I painted that memory.  It came to me seamlessly and somewhere in the expression of that time, were captured the memories of my mother…all of those that have already slipped away…a dream catcher of sorts…a beautiful place.

Thank you to Sabrina, for purchasing my piece at auction.  I love the painting of the winking gentleman parked on the wall behind my easel.  He seems to know something we don’t!

 

February by Dar Williams

I threw your keys in the water, I looked back,
They’d frozen halfway down in the ice.
They froze up so quickly, the keys and their owners,
Even after the anger, it all turned silent, and
The everyday turned solitary,
So we came to February.

First we forgot where we’d planted those bulbs last year,
Then we forgot that we’d planted at all,
Then we forgot what plants are altogether,
and I blamed you for my freezing and forgetting and
The nights were long and cold and scary,
Can we live through February?

You know I think Christmas was a long red glare,
Shot up like a warning; we gave presents without cards,
And then the snow,
And then the snow came, we were always out shoveling,
And we’d drop to sleep exhausted,
Then we’d wake up, and its snowing.

And February was so long that it lasted into March
And found us walking a path alone together.
You stopped and pointed and you said, “That’s a crocus,”
And I said, “What’s a crocus?” and you said, “It’s a flower,”
I tried to remember, but I said, “What’s a flower?”
You said, “I still love you.”

The leaves were turning as we drove to the hardware store,
My new lover made me keys to the house,
And when we got home, we just started chopping wood,
Because you never know how next year will be,
And we’ll gather all our arms can carry,
I have lost to February.

5 thoughts on “Memory Leans Back Into the Branches of a Tree

  1. Kathleen – your writings always touch my heart deeply and this one is no exception – I have told you this before and can only keep on repeating myself. Your shared words, art and Dar Williams’ amazing poem are what this whole blogging thing is all about – thank you…

  2. HI Kathleen – this painting has made its way back to my home in Newfoundland and now sits on my living room wall. The painting and the story behind it inspires me then and still does now. Thank you for making such beautiful art and sharing such beautiful stories.

    Sabrina Pinksen.

    • Sabrina!! I am so blessed that you have it! I have not yet traveled to Newfoundland and dream to do so. So many times I’ve driven the extent of the Trans Canada Highway…but never getting to this beautiful province! I am touched that the piece about friendship…and growth…and memory…DID make it. Please stay in touch and thank you for this amazing note. Kathleen Moors

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