“You didn’t go and buy anything. Did you?” Auntie asks across wires stretching from the West to the Midwest. It takes me a few seconds –what felt more like a few minutes- to respond.
The day after Christmas I bought art supplies. In the midst of gleefully browsing every craft and art supply isle, an idea struck me. I wanted to make Auntie a present. From time to time over the past few months I’ve wanted to make something for her. I created two separate pastels. I thought of sending her one. They lay abandoned on my desk.
The day after Christmas I decided to make something for Auntie, instead of buying.
When I was young my grandmother and grandfather were artsy, creative country folk. This Christmas, I made my own cards. It felt organic-healing even- as I cut and pasted.
The idea of indulging in another project was appealing. I wouldn’t consider myself an artist outside of being a writer, but I do enjoy art. It is one of those areas I see myself taking a class in just for the fun of it one day soon.
As we talk, I actively cut, paste, color, draw. I look down at the project with an ironic grin. “No….I made you something.” I respond casually.
Today I flipped through the calendar to look at each page and think about what words to fill the calendar with. Pictures without words are just no fun in my opinion. Sitting between scrap piles of paper, cut-outs, embellishments, glue, I couldn’t stop thinking of September’s theme-the beginning of fall.
The calendar background is brown. Leaves drop from a tree. Each leaf is a different combination of green, yellow, orange, and red. I reflect on fall and all I can think about is how ironic it is that beauty lurks in death. The bright colored leaves are all shades of slowly dying life. You know each leaf will soon be a leaf crunching beneath your feet. Yet, you marvel at the vibrancy all around you. I came up with a few words to add to the fall calendar page. This is a bit of a departure from my typical writing style, but it’s always fun to try different things.
This is a Christmas present, yet so much more. Instead of letting PTSD take over every waking moment of my life, I put my energy into the calendar. In a sense it has sustained my will to keep it together during Christmas break. This poem is a gift from one survivor to another. Auntie. Below is the poem for the fall calendar…
In death there lives beauty;
in the crumbling of decomposing leaves,
in the slowly cooling air,
in the light rain taping against your window.
We say goodbye to the deeds of last season
with a grimace or a smile.
We let each deed go back to mother earth
and we rest awhile.