Every February, like clockwork, my mother takes stock of her life and decides it’s time to move. It could be that on the island where she lives, February is the fourth in a string of months where gray usurps blue and the horizon and sky become one. Her moods, often as unpredictable as the weather, swing towards melancholy and it is here, in this place that her unease shifts her tranquility to despair.
She sits in her chair as she often does, the one that overlooks her tiny yet busy garden. She looks at the geese who are making nests for their young, wondering how such majestic creatures can leave so much shit behind. She watches as an early morning rower edges out of the mist, heading toward the horizon with purpose and grace. My mother remembers a time when she herself, would glide across that sliver of water, her joy at being alive bouyed by the ocean. But now, her kayak sits heavy on its side, like a beached whale, with no one there to push it back to life.
She strokes her dog and they share a conversation, perhaps the only one she’ll have all day. She loves this place, surrounded by her things. Her mother’s chair sits stoically in the corner, demanding attention despite its small profile. The chair is red, or at least it was red. She recovered it some time ago but to her, it will always be red.
Her eyes move around the room to another chair, a maple Vilas rescued from the side of the road, a chair that has now become a piece of art. Married with cloth and wire and other found objects it hangs on the wall where it’s not supposed to be.
My mother gazes out the window once more, where the Payne’s Grey has settled over the geese and rendered them almost silent. The scene has become a Turner painting, and although beautiful, its beauty has no dimension. She is a voyeur to this scene, when she longs to be a part if it.
The kettle whistles, breaking her from her silent reverie. Yes, its time to move from this place, and although she is not sure where she is supposed to be, she feels a lightness in her heart at thinking of it.