The blue curtains are still half closed as to not disturb the cobweb that had been built the night before. She is thankful the sun had glistened off its threads in such a way that it had caught her eyes before jerking the curtain wide open to let in the morning. She moves her chair slightly so she can watch the web shiver in the sunlight as she drinks her coffee. Her kitchen, small, bright from that sunlight coming through the window, is free of clutter. It reflects her simplicity: room for only two at the table, no cute containers on the counters, only a blender for smoothies. She'd long ago put away the microwave and other contraptions of modern cooking. With one finger, she moves the vagabonding strands of long brown hair to lodge behind her ear. Her face holds the quiet, reflected in a softness that is only gently etched by time that has worked creases into the corners of her eyes. Her mouth is pulled down slightly at its corners as gravity schlepps its ever-gentle pull on her aging skin. Mornings of sunshine and light, like this morning, help balance the reflections dwelling in the shadows. A writer, a weaver of words, a sleuth of storylines, her creations happen in the space of secluded rooms, wombs into which she descends where most life first thinks itself into existence. Far from tenebrous but necessarily holding the calm that the darkness of night embraces, her life is lived in the seclusion necessary to create, that place in which thoughts reside in quiet. Every morning, she has settled into the silence of her small house. Never any music played nor news of the world pushed into its clean energy. She fills with the silence, content, like a comfort food meal. She fills the silence with words. She looks at the paper on which she's written a title, "Aweigh of Life - A Memoir and Travel Tales of Seven Years in the South Pacific," and she begins to write.
“I was never tethered tightly to my family body, nor was I brought close in for nurturing and protection. I felt I was not an essential thing to protect. As a young child, I was tied by a thin string which broke again and again. I tugged hard so they’d know my strength, and they’d see my accomplishments. “Am I good enough now?” Seeing my demands not as a need for recognition but as rebellion, they tied thicker ropes with stronger knots made of stricter rules. But they too frayed quickly, eaten away by the acid anger of an unhappy family. I drifted from home because there was nothing to hold me, and when I was far enough away, I pulled the anchor up completely and stowed it deep inside to put down only if or when I found safe harbor.
“Anchor aweigh, I touched that exhilarating freedom of deep waters. I ceased to look for safe harbor. I sought out the storms and mountains, any challenge that proved that I could survive without “them,” an ever-broadening pronoun. I changed course, changed boats – just as tides turned and winds shifted – like moods, changing hour by hour, day by day, leaving flotsam floating on receding horizons, never thinking that they would be the pieces I’d gather up one day to find my way home and the reason I left.”
That's how it began several years before. Now remembering the genesis of that book, she ponders the story behind the story. A new cobweb hangs in her window. She herself feels suspended, twisting on woven threads, a coarse, emotionally tactile tatted fabric; holes left between tight stitches. She's reweaving something, giving it form, finding the warp and filling in the weft of a generational backstory. But her sacred world is interrupted by her cell phone ring, playing Ripple. She allows it to reach the beginning lyrics, "If my words did glow, with the gold of sunshine, and my tunes were played on a harp unsung....." before answering, "Hello, this is Edie." She hangs up the phone and takes another sip of her coffee, gazing out the window. She'd almost forgotten that she had committed to a weekend of women who, for 30 years, have gathered together once a year at the summer's end. She is being reminded to bring a cooler of ice. Her preference is to stay here and keep writing. Each year she is nudged from her cocoon, a call to shift gears and join the Tawanda Girls for another "crazy weekend." Sometimes she commits, though this year she wishes she hadn't. She fears letting loose her muse to roam elsewhere, to gather loose threads in the wind and wander afar. Will the weaver return? Will this sacred spell be broken? Will the frivolity of the Tawanda women destroy the thaumaturgy created in this moment? Will the muse return to fill the empty pages between the bookends? Time eases the sun away from her window. She resolves to have faith. Her coffee is cold, but she pours the last into her cup, adds the last of her half and half, and then she gathers up her things and walks out the door.