Monday, February 06, 2006

Everlasting Symbol

I’m sitting at my computer just before 9 am last Thursday when I hear a bump and a loud crash in my bedroom. Sullivan, our cat (see below), then darted out of the room. Fearing the worst I rushed in to see what had caused the noise, only to find the worst-case scenario. Our most prized piece of artwork is a statue given to us by my Mom for our wedding. It is a sculpture of two humming birds, wrapped in a wedding blanket, inspired by our own ceremonial wedding blanket. Unknown to us, my Mom had commissioned the work from an artist in Taos, NM, when we had finally selected the blanket design from the Pine Ridge reservation. You see, my grandfather was a woodworking teacher in the 1930’s, and worked with the Lakota Sioux nation there, and on other reservations in South Dakota. The statue was an incredible gift to us on our wedding day, and we displayed it proudly on the corner of the room on an antique table.

And there it lay, shattered and broken on our floor. I wept like a baby. Not ashamed to admit it.

Before: Before
...After: After

I am reminded by my friend Jacqui that one certain thing has come of this calamity. In his act of destruction, our cat Sullivan has affirmed his presence in our family unit. We will never again gaze upon our wedding gift, a symbol of our union, without also recalling how it was shattered into many pieces by the unknowing, mostly innocent, feline member of our family. Perhaps he has finally vindicated his feelings for having been left in Boston while we traveled to Colorado for our wedding…

The end of the story is still writing itself. My Mom has related the disaster to the artist himself, and preparations are already in order for a replacement. The only lasting damage will be the dent in my heart, the last polish of a belief in the permanence of symbols rubbed away by, yes, a family member.

Oh, next time: Bolted down glass box.


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