200 Quilts · Something to Think About

Blind Ambition

So I’ve been thinking about old age and dying, especially after the dream I had last night where I was trying to get off of a bridge littered with bodies and it was imperative (like dreams can be) that I not stop and help anyone (maybe they were infected with a ghastly disease, or something) and I kept dodging people and not slowing down and only woke up when I got to the other side, leaving behind, in a rainstorm (! but it was a dream) that site of sadness and death and human suffering.  It took me a long time to come awake, and I watched the sun’s color paint our backyard trees, including the olive that has died slowly from an airborne illness, killing it from the leaves downward, and which needs to be removed.

So from there I  began wondering about how many productive years I have ahead of me.  It’s a fool’s quest, this kind of thing, because I could get wiped out on my way to school tomorrow (two major freeway interchanges, one bout of commute traffic).  Or full-blown arthritis could arrive tomorrow and sewing would be out of the question.  Or maybe those poor souls on the bridge in my dream are only a harbinger of some invasive cancer that I’ll have to navigate somehow. (Does the ending mean that I get to live?)

When you are thirty, these thoughts are considered morbid and completely unnecessary.  When you are post-forty, they are a part of your life, especially as a friend or a grandmother or a close relative dies.

But yesterday, I did something life-affirming.  I added the tag of “200 Quilts” to the post I wrote.  I don’t know if I’ll reach 200 before my quilting thimble gets left in the drawer for the last time.  But I took the ambitious step — a blindly ambitious step considering we can’t ever know the future but pin all our hopes on it — and declared my Portuguese Tile Quilt to be number 101 of 200, a lovely, big, ambitious, and history-laden bi-centennial sort of number.  We’ll just see how it goes.

6 thoughts on “Blind Ambition

  1. Oh yes, just what I want to think about over my morning coffee!! hehe. I may be under thirty, but the concept of a time limit on my creativity is pretty much on my mind every day. It’s that pesky diabeetus and all. I’m sure you’ll reach your goal, especially since you’ve decided you want to! Most women worry about their fading looks, quilters worry about how many quilts they have left in them. Too funny.

  2. Great post, Elizabeth! I believe you will definitely make 200 quilts and I look forward to watching them unfold over the next several years….


  3. Wow, that’s an intense dream. Does it have anything to do with teaching? I looking forward to reading about and seeing your next 100. Go, go, go!

  4. My mom died when she was just 46. It was cancer and not necessarily a surprise, just a question of when, exactly. What I saw in her, was that she gave up her plans. Started giving away all her sewing, quilting, and crafting stuff. In a way she gave up her dreams. I think that may be the first step in dying, when you give up your plans and dreams. My MIL is always bugging my FIL to get rid of his collector cars and such because he doesn’t work on them anymore, but I think to do that would be giving up his dreams.
    All that to say, keep planning those 200 quilts. My Grandmother is 96 and blind in one eye, and still quilting!

  5. goodness me – what a horrible dream – but you got to the other side and now and again it’s good to ponder this sort of stuff – but don’t let it take over. love the idea of 200 quilts – but i think you’ll still be going at 350….or 400….or…….

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