I wanted to take some final photos of my Lollypop Trees quilt, partly because I didn’t feel like I’d done an adequate job posting about it when I had finished it (and did worry about overkill in writing about it). But in writing this post, and taking some final photographs, I also wanted to think about it again, to interact with it.
Quite frankly, it may be one of the best creative works I ever make, and I didn’t want to rush by it in a hurry. So I pulled it out again, and photographed each block (see tab above for close-ups) and spent one pleasant afternoon hour in our local university’s Botanic Gardens, pinning it up, draping it over benches, finding that place that would make me satisfied, and would do the quilt justice.
The gardener at the Botanic Gardens even stopped and sat on a nearby bench, watching me drape the quilt, I’m sure partly to see my reaction if I would drop it into the stream below. I didn’t, keeping a good grip on it while I binder-clipped it into place.
I used to walk over this bridge when I went to school here, first getting my undergraduate degree, and less often, when I was working on my graduate degree. I felt like I was revisiting a crossroads sort of place where I had existed as a younger woman, all full of spit and polish and fire and vigor. Today, with the heat nudging up to 90, I felt more spent, less sure of myself even though I am several years past that point when I used to bring my lunch and sit on one of the benches. Often my husband, himself new to this university, would walk up from his office and join me.
We’d sit on one of these benches, always planning to buy one for the university if ever either of us should pass on, with the inscription: “Elizabeth and Dave loved this garden,” — an idea which seemed light years into the future. Less so, now.
I walked up the hill past the lath house shielding plants from our hot Southern California sun, past the rose garden, up through the arbor. Just past the iris patch I found this gazebo. Like a bride in her glory, I arrayed the quilt, primping and draping and spreading out the bouquet of appliquéd flowers.
Sunlight illuminated the quilt from the back, a bee settled in to buzz around my head, and a slight breeze blew the quilt to and fro. . . time to go.
There is an old saying that goes something like this: “When the house is finished, the man dies.” I don’t think that applies to me, finishing this quilt, but there is something of a finality when a quilt that has extracted lots of creative energy is finished. It’s an ending, with the quilt becoming its own memorial, its own momento mori of that three years of my life, gone and never to be seen again.
I fold up the quilt, dodge that bee one more time, and head down the through the shaded gardens.