Thursday, May 22, 2008
The Last Leaf
In an earlier post (The Thief of Time, Feb/08) I wrote about a dear cousin and sister artist who was slipping away from the world synapse by synapse. She suffered a sudden decline earlier this month and died. I will miss her greatly. In the past years, she had been sending me dried magnolia leaves that she had picked up on the grounds of her home. In her spidery hand, she mused on her fascination with them and what she could do with them if only she had the time or the focus she had once had. They were lovely objects. Leathery to the touch and the eye, stiff and gutsy, they invited us both to consider them as more than mere compost-fodder, but possibly as small canvases.
You may think from the above paragraph that we had a lively and constant correspondence but I am ashamed to say that while she was eager for news of my current work and invited me to a meeting of the minds, I was at best scattershot in my response. I have no excuse, one of my many faults is my inattention to others. And as is the case with all shortcomings, I hurt myself the most. I missed the many opportunities to get to know her better, to be more a part of her wonderful, enigmatic, charmed world.
So, now I hold in my hand the last leaf she sent me, despite its sturdiness, it did not come through the post intact. It is cracked and a small section has broken off. Even in its diminished condition, it speaks to me- in the soft, southern warble of my cousin's voice- it says " Don't forget me," I promise I won't.