Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Birds and flowers

The Chinese once had a whole school of painting devoted to birds and flowers. The study of it was part of the contemplation of place. And one's place in it. Losing one's place was losing the pattern and order of everything.

But sometimes making a little chaos in the order can be fun.

Embroidery emboldens.

Sometimes a needle can be a little subversive despite its seeming to   carry the thread humbly in it head.

The subtext is in the seams.

Occasionally a hiccough helps.

A knot holds.

The pricked finger wears a spot of blood like a red beret.

The world is all about birds and flowers.

Frida and Louisa

Frida and I only knew each other for a little while. She hung around the sewing machine for a week or two. She lay in my lap assembling herself, waited patiently while I fixed her hair. She spent sometime naked on the sunny windowsill while her clothes were stitched - looking on with interest when her skirts were embroidered with birds and flowers.

But once she was dressed she wanted company. It was lonely - just the two of us. She was tiring of my solo twittering - even virtuoso whistling bored her. Should we have a tea party I asked her. Yes, she said. She seemed quite decided.

We invited my friend Louisa and baked an orange cake.

We tidied up just a little bit. Enough that Louisa would find the kitchen agreeable but not so much that she would feel we had gone to too much trouble. We put pink and plum-coloured chrysanthemums in an old blue jug and set out our favourite teacups. We both brushed our hair and fiddled about - fussing over this and that until the doorbell rang.

Louisa took her tea without milk or sugar and only had a dainty piece of cake - she is always elegantly slender.

Frida was impressed.

She and Louisa quickly became good friends.

They talked about everything. Art. Shoes. Growing cacti. Revolutions.

The writing was on the wall really.

When Louisa got up to go Frida went with her.

They drove away in Louisa's car.

I miss her.

There might even have been some unseemly snuffling into a hanky.

But I have dusted the sewing machine off again.

And a small voice in my head says, Viva Mexico!