Men, Prayer, Politics, Horses, Detroit
It is September 10th and the weather is coming in. Pulling the winter horse blankets out of the trunks fills the room with the stench of manure, mildew and the sweat of horses. I reach to the bottom of the trunk and find the remnants of old blankets: the clips, snaps and webbing cut from the old ones for repairs to the salvageable ones, prolonging their use just one more season. I spread out the ones needing new buckles and snaps, measuring the odds and ends to find the fit, let alone a color match.
Opening a tattered moving box labeled with various markers no less than four times, each move crossed out by the next, I pull out three smaller boxes, one wood, one papered cardboard and one an old shoe box. Inside are the thrown together remains of the sewing boxes of no less than four generations of women. Thimbles, fabric weights with images of Niagara Falls embedded in them, buttons and bobbins, snaps and various spare parts for women’s undergarments no longer in fashion. Several pin pricks into the thread search, dead-set on finding the perfect shade of hunter green, I pull a spool out, trying unsuccessfully to ascertain the color. The label answers my question: ‘Invisible Thread’.
September 11, 2011
I read a quote yesterday that went something like this: “Death comes to each of us not once but three times: once when the body ceases to function; the second time when we are laid to rest and the third time when our name is spoken for the last time.” And what links these three? The invisible thread stretching through the minds of those whose lives ours touched. The invisible thread stringing the memories and the grief into a comprehensible order of what remains: the thoughts, the pulse of the thoughts, the flickers of light in those thoughts that once again evoke a smile as our hearts seem to turn within our chests to glance back just one more time, one more hopeful time…to a trail now empty.
The thread often becomes visible in a scent or the flection in a voice, the slope of shoulder in a crowd or the cut of a jaw line that causes our heart to leap, only to be caught on the exhale back into emptiness. It is found in another’s story, words not our own yet painted across the canvas we long ago took a knife to in our rage of pain. It is found on the maps of our minds, our feeble attempts to drive a dart deep into the compass point, freezing time somewhere, anywhere but here.
Comes a time when the grieving come to envy the dead, come to envy their peace. The very nature of peace changes and becomes known in ways never fathomed. The thread holds tight as anger seeks ballast. The thread bears witness as the living ponder the cost of the one way ticket to home. The thing about invisible thread is that it never breaks, and cares not the direction from which it gets pulled taught. It exists to hold, forever.
Years pass. Our gaze fades into the dull hues of now. We long to touch but fingertips meet nowhere. Our dreams taunt and toy: the dip, the dodge, the faint. And we awake missing the night.
We reach into our own blindness and know the thread is there, sighing in comfort’s crumbs. Crumbs guarded with our every hope and dream, altered, edited, erased and re-written again and again and again till we sicken at our own thoughts, spitting at the promise dawn made.
Standing, we greet gravity like an old friend, settle into the weight. The needle still, the thread comes through, to be pulled and knotted. Holding the fabric of our lives, we pierce and pull through, pierce and pull through, ragged seams joined, held tight, with invisible thread.
© 2011, 2012, 2013 Nancy Kotting All Rights Reserved Reproduction by Permission Only