Spinning In 2013
Outside The Center

All The Goodbyes

Broken"Good day to you," she said.

I woke this morning somber, after having immersed myself with thoughts of people who no longer populate my life; in particular, a client who's passing I only learned of yesterday. She was a fiercely independent and brilliant woman. Through an incidental remark made by a current customer, I learned that she was now the steward of the deceased woman's pets.

We marvel at these coincidences. We believe they land at random on our shoulders like bulbous drops of rain - our faces tiny and distorted, looking back at ourselves from the domed surface. If we stood a little to the left we'd have an entirely different experience. We weave fine and intricate nets and cast them out to fall where they may.

One fish slipped from my net a year or so ago. A curious one that fought to survive through mimicry. It was a smothering tactic and I needed desperately to extricate myself. The beautiful beast lay injured, violently thrashing on the shore. It's body heaved, for air or tears I'll never know. I turned away as it slid silently back under the watery waves.

I felt weighed down by these thoughts and only with difficulty did I rise from my bed. Standing at the stove I silently noted the differences between the new tea kettle and the old.

Michael asked me last night before I drifted off to sleep if I was happy with the new one.

"It's not the one I really want but it will do."

"Which tea kettle would you rather have?"

I had no energy to describe tea kettles before drifting off to sleep.

"If I described it to you, it would sound like any other tea kettle. It would sound ordinary. But it's fire orange and you can't go wrong with that."

My enamel blue kettle grew old. Its spine and speech impaired it sits, still serviceable, on the back burner. I felt embarrassed remembering how I'd cursed it when the handle - its exoskeleton - fell off in my hand. And then its lip clunked onto the stovetop. It's nothing that can be fixed. It's aging like me, like all of us, and I was ashamed for being angry with it. A tea kettle. Imagine that. All of the coffee and all of the tea and all of the warmth that poured out of the thing and I cursed at it.

Now I am feeling sheepish and unwilling to toss it away. Is this how we become eccentric? Will I be an old woman with a kettle on every burner? I can imagine being found still in my chair, a dog sitting vigil while a quartet of kettles bellow the sad lament of bagpipes. 


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It must be the day for these types of thoughts. While vacuuming this morning I noted the scars all over the wood of the stairs and sighed impatiently. They frustrate me because they make the house look old and worn. Then my heart was pricked with conviction ... the house shows the wear of my family and children. And really, the scars are beautiful and reveal their boisterous personalities and days filled with laughter and silliness. I don't know that I'll ever be able to leave this house. Hugs to you and your sweet, old tea kettle.

Laura Munoz

This probably isn't the comment you wish to receive but could you use the tea kettle in some other capacity? Just because something is old and a little broken(like me) doesn't mean there isn't use left in it. Even something that dies (if humans don't fill it full of preservative) gives back to the earth in nutrients.

Could the kettle become a planter? A bird house? A receptacle for saved receipts or coupons? A holder of dog leashes? A watering can for a house plant? Could you paint a face on it and use it as the head to a scarecrow? (The nose could be the spout) Could it become a toad house? Okay, I'll shut up. ;-)

Grace Peterson

Funny how the things we use every day can become like family members and we don't appreciate them until they're gone or some other change ensues. It's okay. There are no rules. Just go with it. :)


I hope you are doing okay and didn't lose any of your dogs. I also hope you weren't telling us all goodbye. I miss your posts.

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