Thursday, January 24, 2008

On Pottery and Peas

A terrible thing happened this week. A friend died.

On Tuesday nights, I usually go to the pottery studio. I'm flaky about going during the school year because I'm so often tired and just ready to call it a night by the time 7pm and my studio hours roll around. But this Tuesday night, after receiving the sad news earlier in the day, I went. Although I didn't feel like going, ECG pushed me out the door, knowing (as he does) that it would be the best thing for me.

It was. I sat down at the wheel and threw lots and lots of mug bases, simple forms, but mindless. I played with my new texture tools. I talked to my friend MS, and even took her picture as she trimmed a pot.

After throwing this bowl last week, MS let it dry to leather-hard to work with on Tuesday. Attached with soft clay to the wheel head, the bowl spins fast—the faster, the better—while MS's hands hold still, cutting away the extraneous clay. We call this trimming.

On Tuesday, after hearing the news, my world became incredibly small. I called ECG and my parents. My close friends and I called each other. For a few hours, only 13 people lived in my world: ECG and my family, these friends, and three children. All beyond that was at least temporarily trimmed away.

It's hard to live in such a small world, and though I have a feeling that for a while at least, these 13 people will often spin with me while everything else blurs, every once in a while, we'll be able to step off the spinning wheel and see the whole world, still and full. My friends and I will be able to step off the wheel completely soon, but the children may be stuck on for a while. May a steady, still hand guide them back from the trimmed down spareness, cradling them in the open air.

At dinner with the kids last night, I noticed one of them push the peas out of his rice and into a pile.

I think in the next few days, a pile of sugar snaps from my plot needs to appear in front of him. Will he love them? Will he hate them? I don't know and I don't care. I just know they're not on the spinning wheel, they have nothing to do with what gets trimmed away, and maybe they'll hold his attention long enough not to blur.

11 comments:

Wendy said...

I'm so very sorry, Christina. My heart goes out to you and the children and everyone else who is grieving.
Much love,
Wendy

Terry B said...

Christina, I am so sorry you're going through this. And so glad for those three kids that you're there for them. Take care, my friend.

Jill Davis Doughtie said...

I'm sorry.

Christina said...

Thank you, friends, for your kindness. The funeral was yesterday, and it was a cathartic, beautiful experience.

Lucy said...

Oh, Christina!

I've had my best friend here for almost a full week and now I see this has happened in your world.

All my love,

Lucy X

winedeb said...

Sorry to hear of your loss Christina!
Bunches of hugs to you,
Deb

ann said...

Oh god, I'm so sorry for your loss Christina! Let me know if there's anything I can do (I've still got your address, I could send you more pickles! they say pickles help heal all wounds) and take care of yourself. I'll be sending you some happy thoughts from Brooklyn.

tina said...

Sorry for your loss. l wish l could say l know what your are going thru' l will remember your in my prayers. God bless you.

Christina said...

Lucy, Winedeb, Ann, and Tina: Thank you so much for your compassion. I really appreciate it.

Susan said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your friend, Christina. I wish you healing.

The Passionate Palate said...

Christina, sorry i've been away from your blog for a while, and even more sorry about your friend. Pottery making is excellent therapy, so good for you for making yourself do it.