Mystic Writer

Peeking out to see if there is a real world out there...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Interiors



I sit at the shell table, watch the leaves silhouette black on the suddenly red blinds. I laugh at yet another small miracle in this place, wonder what pigment in the beige blinds colors the afternoon sun bloody.

The place has become 'The Treehouse' for those who visit here. Leaf rich vista and filtered sun are my daytime companions, shadowy leaves from the landscape light paint my ceiling and my dreams as I lie so peacefully at night.

Summer is here and the windows are closed, but I know come fall the air will again swirl and play in my home.

Green, gold, and sandstone. I planned to build that but was instead gifted. Henry was the first to notice that one wall had a greenish tint that nicely set off the other walls and carpet. His comment came as he sat on my homemade couch.

At 20 years I was broke and the need for money drove me to a weekend job cleaning out a defunct furniture manufacturer. The place was a long abandoned basement and the furniture that remained was buried under sawdust and cobwebs and laced with mildew.

Everything had to be carried up a flight of irregular stairs and at the end of the 20 hours of weekend labor I was given my choice of a couple pieces of furniture and 75 dollars. I was ecstatic about the latter and a bit bemused by the former. I finally took two foldout bed mechanisms and an enormous solid oak table, round on a pedestal. I needed a table for the mobile home I'd bought, and I thought it would be nice to have a foldout bed to give me more floor space when company called.

The table fit but barely, and I was able to store one bed mechanism at my parents. The other mechanism sat on the bedroom floor, accomplishing the exact opposite of my initial intent. Following the logic of desperation I designed a couch in my head that I could make from scrap 2x8's that I had found, and over the course of several weeks I glued up random pieces and borrowed tools to make the frame. I spent four dollars on stain and lags and had a serviceable couch albeit with no cushions.

It served as my bed for a couple days. My parents, always a source of entertainment for my destitute loneliness, called me one night and invited me to Penneys outlet store - free transportation and something to do appealed and I found myself wandering around the store. I was drawn far to the back and a pile of dust covered plastic plucked at my attention - some blowing and sneezing cleared the dust enough to see it was a set of cushions, gold and cream. I found a clerk and negotiated a price I could afford - three dollars. Arriving home I found the cushions fit perfectly and matched the already applied stain.

I tell Henry this story from my perch in one of my matched gold easy chairs. A little farther along in my 20's and I no longer starved for cash. I felt rich, although my current self laughs at that notion. Kirk, my best friend from grade school had been slowly spiraling into a terrible life of alcoholism, and I offered him a place to stay and get well - I thought that a life free of the stress of working and providing for himself would allow him to focus on his problem, and in a way it did.

The spiral tightened dramatically and after 18 months of excess he finally was caught committing a felony and fled the state. The two gold easy chairs that he came with remained and I decided to keep them, both as a cautionary note for myself and because they so perfectly matched the gold threads and tint of the couch.

The brass bowl in the center of the shell table picks up the red from the blinds and draws my attention - memories of Henry fade as I touch the shells lying in the bowl.

On April Fools I wrote about some mysterious shells I had found, and though the end of the story was fabricated, the odd appearance of the shells halfway up a cliff was both real and confusing. Over time I've come to believe the shells fell from a limestone cliff that towers above the trail.

Two days before I moved into the apartment I was obsessing about how to get the enormous oak table relocated and I was dismayed at how much of the apartment space it would take up. I didn't feel I had any options because I didn't want to be spending money right then and what little I did have I was going to use to buy chairs - another issue that was niggling away at me.

My poison ivy was receding but somewhere in the scratching I'd managed to pick up an infection in my elbow which flared in the middle of the night to hot skin and the bone ache I've come to associate with dire threat. I couldn't find an open urgent care and didn't want to go to emergency and so I decided on an old home remedy.

I boiled up some water, laced it with tea trea oil, and slowly parboiled my arm. After the first few seconds I was delirious with the pain and managed some sort of meditation that allowed me to keep my elbow in the near boiling water for 45 minutes.

The bone ache went away and though the arm was bright red it no longer screamed, and I went to bed relieved. A few hours later I woke when my fever broke and I retained a vivid image of a chair I had been dreaming of. My only thought was "That would be perfect for the apartment", and then I fell back to sleep.

The morning dawned cool and breezy with the sun bright yellow in the dry air, and I rose early for a long walk in a park well outside the city. The park is an enormous oasis of trees in a region of endless prairie, and I walked for miles in silent appreciation. The trail topped a hill and I noticed a pool of sun in the midst of ferns swirling in the breeze. I stood in the sun, looked at the blue filtering through waving leaves, breathed the scent of wood and foliage, raised my arms and chanted a prayer of thanks and expressed a desire for ongoing joy. I sunk into the moment, then a long while later slowly lowered my arms and gaze.

Between my feet was a shell, exactly like the shell I'd found in April in a park over 100 miles away. This park has no cliffs, and the only water was well over a mile away. Again I had no explanation and as I picked up the shell I simply laughed with the wonder of it all and the happiness persisted as I finished my hike.

Later that day I brought my son to a gathering at a park, and when lunch arrived I found there was nothing green for me to eat, so I left my son with friends and took off on my bike to go pick up something. It took longer than I wanted and so I was riding back to the park at full speed when something plucked at my attention as I passed a hedge. I whipped my head around and was shaken to catch a glimpse through the hedge of the chair of my dreams of the night before. It was so unexpected and I was in such a hurry I rode on and rejoined my son.

Hours passed and the two of us were walking home and I realized we were near the hedge, so we detoured and I found that the chair along with three others and a small solid oak round pedestal table was being offered for sale for $225. I loved the table and chairs but didn't feel I could afford it as I already owned a table, so I half-heartedly made an offer of $150 and left them my phone number. They didn't seem interested.

Later they called and told me the set was mine and I went and picked it up. As I was carrying the table balanced on my head up the steep part of my driveway I heard my son who was following behind proclaim "Daddy, there's a shell in the driveway". I was a little shocked at the synchronicity of that but I couldn't look because my head was locked to my shoulders by the weight of the table, so I kept walking into the dark garage. I eased the table down and my son darted around me, did something and said "Daddy, your new table is the shell table!".

I turned on the garage light and found that my son had set the walnut shell he'd found dead in the center of the table - the table I sit at now, the table that matches the chairs and the couch and the room.

I'm on the right path.

28 Comments:

  • At 9:23 AM, Blogger Rainypete said…

    It's nice to see the fates are smiling upon you once more. Glad to see you finding your way. Soon enough you'll be happy again too.

    Maybe time will be kind enough to signpost these times in your life with shells for the rest of time. That would be a nice thought. Hope the elbow is better soon.

    Congrats.

     
  • At 12:32 PM, Blogger Nicky said…

    Sending my good thoughts to you MW. Great story about the furniture, it made me smile. More good times to follow I can tell... P.s. Thanks for the mention in your previous post.

    Nicky x

     
  • At 3:04 AM, Blogger melodyann said…

    I wanna visit the treehouse........

     
  • At 5:15 AM, Blogger Shannin said…

    What a vivid picture...

    Here via Michele's M&G

     
  • At 5:17 AM, Blogger Star said…

    Wonderful post. Here via Michele.

     
  • At 10:00 AM, Blogger puremood said…

    You have some really great writing. I'll have to come back and visit when I can take some time to sit and read.

    Here via the M&G at Michele's

     
  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger Shane said…

    Hello there. It's always good to land upon a natural born storyteller blog. Came here via Michele Agnew.

     
  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger Cin said…

    Hi Michele sent me!

    I'm so glad she did - that's a wonderful tale of synchronicity. You are a gifted writer.

     
  • At 11:51 AM, Blogger kenju said…

    Nicely written. Michele sent me; and Samantha's blog froze-up my browser too! Wonder why that happens?

     
  • At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Last Girl On Earth said…

    Wonderful writing. As everyone has said before me, you are a born storyteller. Here via Michele. Have a great weekend.

     
  • At 1:11 PM, Anonymous terrilynn said…

    Hello, Michele sent me. That was a well-told tale, as always.

     
  • At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Sol said…

    I am here from Michele's. Wonderfully written. I enjoyed it.

     
  • At 2:05 PM, Blogger Kevin said…

    Ms. Michele sent me.

    As usual, your writing stimulates the senses. Thanks again, mw.

     
  • At 2:24 PM, Blogger Paul said…

    Hi, here again from Michele's M&G. Have a great weekend.

     
  • At 7:01 PM, Blogger panthergirl said…

    Glad Michele directed me back here... I need some meaty reads from time to time. Yours are so soulful and wonderful.

     
  • At 7:28 PM, Blogger Brandie said…

    Fabulous post as always, MW. I love coming over here. Oh, and this time, Michele sent me. :)

     
  • At 7:32 PM, Blogger abrowncow said…

    wonderful post, lovely story.

    hello via michele's

     
  • At 7:37 PM, Blogger Crazy Single Mom said…

    You have a very poetic way of writing, I enjoyed it very much! I'm going to read back in your blog after the weekend. Thankyou for visiting my blog :-)

     
  • At 7:48 PM, Anonymous PΛUL SVEDΛ said…

    Very well written and I got shivers at the end, perhaps cheesy, perhaps the home made wine spritzer and too many hours of messing with my apache server or perhaps I am a big suck. Either way I appreciate the break and read. I am here via Micheles.

    cheers

    P.

     
  • At 3:01 AM, Blogger Minerva said…

    I am NOT here via Michele's *grin*
    and I loved this....
    How gorgeous that fate and your dreams are converging; clearly a case of fate. Do we all perhaps have these signs but only a few of us pick up on them?

    Minerva

     
  • At 8:39 AM, Anonymous tommy said…

    hello michele sent me

     
  • At 11:53 AM, Anonymous colleen said…

    I call my bedroom "the treehouse." My house is a log cabin so their is yellow pine everywhere. I couldn't figure out what was growing in your photo. poisin ivy...tea tree? MIchele sent me today.

     
  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger sidhe said…

    Hi, Mystic Writer! I decided to try Michele A.'s comment cheer today. Serendipity must be afoot, because I'd already noticed your blog (being another mystic) and hadn't yet had time to spend here. Now after reading your tale of the elbow, the shells and the chair, I am so happy to have been directed to your blog today.

     
  • At 12:16 PM, Blogger Courtney said…

    Hello, Michelle sent me.

     
  • At 1:50 PM, Blogger Dawn said…

    That post was really good. I will be back to check out more.

    I am here via Michele

     
  • At 12:50 PM, Blogger Minerva said…

    Here via Michele today MW...but you know that I come here on my own...

    Minerva

     
  • At 12:59 PM, Blogger Minerva said…

    MW,
    Just to let you know that the rough girl's guide is no more... Someone has put an ipod site up..*spit*

    Just so you can change your links...

    Minerva

     
  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger mw said…

    Rainypete - cool thought about the shells being signposts - I like it. Thanks!

    Hi Nicky - it's great to see you - I need to write you a big note one of these days. I'm smothered in details and activities and the days go by so fast I just don't ever seem to find time. Thanks for being here!

    Hi Melody! Someday...

    Shannin - Hi neighbor - it's nice to see you! Thanks!

    star, puremood, shane, cin, lgoe, terrilynn, sol, kevin, paul, abrowncow, dawn - thank you for the nice complements.

    Hey kenju - I never saw Samantha's blog - I'm glad you didn't give up on the M&G after you were frozen, because it's nice to have you visit.

    kevin - 'stimulates the senses' is really a fantastic complement - thanks!

    panthergirl - I really appreciate the comment about soulful, although I think I'm breaking the mold on my latest post.

    paul sveda - I envy that you are surfing and spritzing at the same time. If it gets you a thrill it's always worth doing!

    Hi Mystic Housewife - hey, it's good to have you here. I'll check out your blog when I get a moment - us mystics need to stick together!

    Ah Minerva - I always look forward to your comments, and it is so good to see you here again. Thanks - I've updated my link but I was sad to see the rough girls guide to sex go away. Maybe I'll tailor my new life to fill in the gaping ... OK, maybe that's an unfortunate albeit apt choice of phrasing. Thanks!

    mw

     

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