Cut String

When my oldest two were toddlers, we joined our neighbors in a baby welcoming. We drove through tunnels of trees and brush. For miles. Only a few select people lived out at the end of this road and trees embraced them and any vehicle that came to visit with gracefully arching arms and trailing green leaves. Along with a gathering of other neighbors, we parked in a meadow and trekked through wandering paths where lovingly added plantings converged with native flora. Eventually we ended by a waterfall where each stone was placed so thoughtfully that it looked as if a god created it.

We were all invited to sit in a circle and pass a ball of yarn around. Each member of the group wrapped the string around themselves so that they were bound lightly to the person next to them. Then the person added a few words to the blanket of love that was woven with language, gestures, and emotions. Some suggested names, some passed on fragments of wisdom about child care, some just spoke of love. Then they passed the ball to the next. Afterwards, the mother walked the circle and snipped each of us our own piece of the blanket—the strand of yarn that had encircled us.

That day, the communal emotion made me imagine our children intertwined, friends for life. Some day we would all be sitting in a circle plaiting a blanket of love for the children of these children. I carefully saved the piece of string in my journal.

Today, that strand has slipped from the page where I pressed it and it is gone—lost forever. I don’t remember the name of the little girl whose birth we were celebrating. Love blankets like real afghans come unraveled if you don’t take care.

And sometimes even if you do.

Early yesterday, we placed the ashes of my husband’s grandmother with roses redder than her favorite wine on a salt and pepper beach. We watched the waves wash them into the sand—merging, melting them into the larger body of nature. We hugged and held hands and lingered over a breakfast together.

Then we walked away to our own lives.

I’m saving these photos here. I’m taking care not to misplace them.

But sometimes cut string, even if you try to keep it, gets lost.

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19 comments

  • Makes me think about the pluses and minuses of staying in the area you grew up in as I think both you and I have done. While there are a lot more “strings” near at hand that can add richness to life, there are also more strings that will disintegrate, wear-away, or be lost completely. More family, more friends, more shared experiences, more lost opportunities, more bitter reminders — more.

  • Well said! Mostly..nearly always..I love the complexity and savor the multitude of relationships but sometimes I long for simplicity and no responsibility and no reminders but then…I would miss everyone and this beautiful place.

  • Well said! Mostly..nearly always..I love the complexity and savor the multitude of relationships but sometimes I long for simplicity and no responsibility and no reminders but then…I would miss everyone and this beautiful place.

  • Very nice analogy.

    I enjoyed the photos, too. If you had a little girl, I’m sure she would look a lot like that little girl with the striking red hair. Her name isn’t Ember Rose, is it? 🙂

  • Very nice analogy.

    I enjoyed the photos, too. If you had a little girl, I’m sure she would look a lot like that little girl with the striking red hair. Her name isn’t Ember Rose, is it? 🙂

  • Bet that was a nice gathering. I’m hoping what’s left of me after my soul moves ahead has a similar place to lie.

  • Bet that was a nice gathering. I’m hoping what’s left of me after my soul moves ahead has a similar place to lie.

  • If I could only get someone to name their child Ember Rose my life mission would be complete;>

    Isn’t she gorgeous though? I love her skin, her eyes, her hair, and her pouty lips! She has another beautiful cousin that I couldn’t get a photo of that looks like angel.

  • If I could only get someone to name their child Ember Rose my life mission would be complete;>

    Isn’t she gorgeous though? I love her skin, her eyes, her hair, and her pouty lips! She has another beautiful cousin that I couldn’t get a photo of that looks like angel.

  • I love the ocean memorial. For me though, I want to have my ashes put in my garden high on this mountain and plant a stubborn little buckeye tree in them. I think buckeyes are beautiful and they fit my personality;>

  • I love the ocean memorial. For me though, I want to have my ashes put in my garden high on this mountain and plant a stubborn little buckeye tree in them. I think buckeyes are beautiful and they fit my personality;>

  • What a beautiful tribute and story.

    Love the photo of the roses on the salt and pepper background.

  • What a beautiful tribute and story.

    Love the photo of the roses on the salt and pepper background.

  • Thanks, this came from the heart. My husband’s family have very warm spots in my heart. I don’t want to lose contact with them.

  • Thanks, this came from the heart. My husband’s family have very warm spots in my heart. I don’t want to lose contact with them.

  • Someone once said, “Each life is like a unique quilt created by a patchwork of memories stitched together by the threads of Time and Love.

  • Someone once said, “Each life is like a unique quilt created by a patchwork of memories stitched together by the threads of Time and Love.

  • I feel the same about my husband’s family. They are like mine.
    My brothers’ exes, they are still like family to us too.

  • I feel the same about my husband’s family. They are like mine.
    My brothers’ exes, they are still like family to us too.

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