Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gloria contemplates

As a teenager, Gloria worked part-time in an office.  The staff was all women.  The room had eastern-facing windows that caught the morning sun around 9 a.m. and on one of the sills was a red clay pot with an African violet.  One of Gloria's assignments was to heat water in an elderly electric percolator for tea or instant coffee and before she refilled the pot each morning, she'd been instructed to use the residue left from the previous day to water the plant.  In spite of everything, the violet bloomed and kept blooming, at least a long as Gloria was there.
Violet photo credit.
She thought of lime deposits from the hard tap water, leached metals from the aluminum pot and who knows what other wayward and life-crushing compounds were dumped around the plant's velvety leaves every weekday morning.  Still the purple blossoms thrived.

With memories of long-ago moments pleasantly crowding her head, Gloria wondered if she, if any or all of us, was a finite vessel.  Not finite in time, years, but in capacity.  What she wondered specifically was if one contained too much of the past, did that leave too little room for the present and the future.  She was aware that pieces of her own story seemed to travel with her like a chaperone, a duenna who feigned drowsiness with lowered lids, chin resting on her black bodice, yet missed nothing.  Since meeting The Reading Man, Gloria preferred to feel unaccompanied by a history that seemed to have less and less to do with this, whatever this was.

It was not ghosts she was dodging, traumas she sought to defuse.  It was simply that yesterday was beginning to take up too much space in the small, free, allowable carry-on bag in which she toted her essential self from place to place.  Her best guess was to consider it real estate of the mind or the opening night preview of a long-anticipated movie for which they'd oversold the tickets but let pleading patrons sit on the floor, throwing caution and fire laws to the winds.  Such a notion was new to her, as she'd always been so comfortable with the past, hers and that exemplified by the objects which delighted her, the linens, china, silver, enduring beauty.

Letting her body move about the kitchen, allowing her hands and arms and back to begin the familiar preparations for a jolly, toothsome day at the shop, her mind held itself apart.  This was her first encounter with the thought that she was being given an opportunity to create change, subtle yet significant and entirely internal.  She knew this thought, this messenger, would turn up again and again as she grew to know it better.  Even in this violet-sparked awareness, Gloria knew there was truth to be learned, possibilities to be entertained.  She was not sure where one put the past when it had overstayed its welcome.


Erin in Morro Bay said...

Not sure where to put the past? Possibly in vintage suitcases that are scattered in decorative spots around the tearoom?

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - That could work and they are so decorative, why not be useful as well. xo