Sunday, May 30, 2010

Anywhere's good

I have a blanket in the back of my car. I know, I know. It's not what you're thinking, although that would be nice on one of these hot days (or nights). Breeze lightly touching the skin, sun washing over every muscle...whew! Anyway, back to the blanket. It's pretty beat up, a mass-produced "Navajo" weave I got some 10 years ago at a Mohican trade shop (although, the owner is a Cherokee, trust me, I asked). I keep it there, neatly folded, in the event that there is an opportunity to lay it out somewhere next to a river or an alfalfa field or on a beach somewhere, and just sit and enjoy the sun and the smells, whatever that moment brings really. I spread it out next to a river today and nearly fell asleep in the sun, my belly full, my sandals resting beside me in the grass. I didn't have a book to read, no iPod, just the blanket, the water, the sun...
It was miraculous.
This blanket is what I would call a true veteran of my life. It has seen all that I have seen in these moments. It has softened the ground for my daughter when she rolled around on it, just an infant entranced by her own fingers. It has nestled tightly over the laps of cold children desperate for the heat to work in the car. It has even, in times of need, caught a few tears in its fibers when I needed to catch my breath driving from point a to point b, unable to fathom how chaotic my life had become.
It's a good blanket. I have thrown it over shivering shoulders during school fire drills, dreamed lazily on it while sharing a crisp apple and bread with a friend. It never stays folded for too long. It is in constant use. It smells like dirt and sky and rain and dryer sheets. And I couldn't help but think, when I was crashed out on it this afternoon, the sun beating down on my collar bones and legs, through my skirt and hair, that I need to use this blanket even more. It's not enough that it comes out only when I think I'm ready to relax on it. It needs to be in constant use in order for the message that it carries to become more habit than privilege. Like I said, it'd be nice to lay there on a fall day, in the middle of an apple orchard, with someone beside me who enjoys the peace as much as I do. And that's not to say I haven't shared the blanket many a time, but I don't have to. I can and have been alone on this blanket, I just need to stay there longer until it smells like me, not someone else.

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