I've been thinking about the pink brush

Three days of remembering. The image of a pink brush from my childhood has recurred every morning upon waking and while exercising and while preparing dinner and while unstitching a number of wrongly-stitched pieces and while gardening and now. The persistence of memory intrigues me.

This is not our pink brush.

This is not our pink brush.

When I was about 13 our family had a favorite pink brush. We brought it with us on camping trips, it was stowed in my mom's purse on shopping trips, we argued over it in the morning. It had bristles that were soft but strong, a handle that fit perfectly in everyone's hand and a full-throated tickling when you passed it through your hair. It generated static electricity that delighted my brothers.

And then we lost it. It might be at the bottom of a cold lake in the upper reaches of Ontario, or, buried in a sand dune on Lake Michigan. It might have been left at a road stop in Minnesota, a neighbors house in Illinois or a picnic table in Wisconsin. It's gone. That I know. To this day I miss that pink brush. I have looked for one like it for years.

Why does such an insignificant object hold so much real estate in my mind? It represents my mother who died 5 years ago this month. My father, who died 13 years ago. It brings up thoughts of family vacations that smelled like fish and cold water. I can remember the feeling of it through my hair and the sound of it when mom stashed it into her purse. And the way the purse clicked when she shut the little metal clasp.

Memory box, Paula Kovarik

When I stitch I try to channel these unsolicited memories into something that makes sense to me. I can't remember people's names but I do remember their faces and the way they make me feel. I don't remember algebraic formulas but I do remember the street maps of places in which I have lived. I don't remember movie plots but I do remember the tastes of my grandmother's strudel.

Pink brushes, cold water, mom and dad, strudel...these are a few of my favorite things.

connections to the past

I've been thinking about time passing in a whirl, without a governor switch. Life in the fast lane — even though this is supposed to be the languid, restful stage of life. Contemplative, serene and insightful.

No doubt about it, I am an adult. Can't confuse that fringe of dark hair at the back of my head for youth and vigor. It's just a fringe of memory now. I used to be able to dance into the early morning hours, now I am tired at nine. I used to wear mini-skirts, now I focus on floaty body covering clothes. Some memories are questionable, some persistent, some are life-affirming.

The back of my head reminds me that today is bolstered by the memories of yesterday.

So all of a sudden I am over 60. Yesterday I was 35. Can these feelings of flight and avoidance be part of aging?

Trimming my memories to highlights gives the glitter of life a balance to the darkness.

Now I am more concerned about legacy. About mistakes. About environment. About authenticity. Pretty doesn't do it for me anymore. More stuff gives no solace. Nor does order or constraints. As a designer the constraints of budget, format and timing often dictated the solution. No longer. I can do whatever I want. And that can be a problem. (whining on mute for now). I must pursue this art with urgency. It is about connections. Plugging into the highlights while recognizing the base of the dark and mysterious.

Wired up for connections.

this memory doesn't fade

Rock star smile.

Rock star smile.

Mom died three years ago today. Her buoyancy, fearlessness and resolve astounded me. She learned new art forms in her eighties and pursued them with vigor. She spread love and acceptance to all around her without judgement. She could bait a hook at the same time as steering the boat. She loved romance novels, bacon-fried potatoes, fabric in all colors and hearing from her sons. She would get in her car and head off without destination just to get a handle on what was out there. She was my mentor and sideline cheerleader.

I miss her every day.

fading shadows.

Memories fade, but not these. She is sharp in my memory. She talks to me in my dreams. I can feel her hands on my shoulders.

I miss her every day.