She was an enigma and a gift. I stumbled across her accidentally, while researching something else. Her name was Maggie. She lived in the upper left corner of the country, and part of the time she lived in a house in a tree. The rest of the time she lived near a tree whose hollow trunk could shelter eight cows from the rain.
I wrote to her because she was a gifted carver of fossilized walrus ivory. The permafrost spits up chunks of it, and Yupik tribes harvest, carve and sell them. Maggie has a small stash of walrus ivory.
I’d seen some of her carvings, and I knew she was the right person to carve my dream. For months I’d had a recurring dream about a woman. She would come trudging up a hill, outlined against the night sky. A moon was shining in the dream and the sky was spattered with stars. The woman had big hands; she used them to hold her shawl close around her.
Once she reached the top of the hill, she would begin a simple dance. It was one of relief and joy, limited only by arthritis. At the end of the dance, she would wave her shawl over her head. At that moment, I saw the woman had the wings of a raven. She would wrap the shawl around her again, and as she trundled back down the hill, I could see on her back the constellation Orion.
What did the dream mean? I still don’t know, but Maggie carved it for me. Without more than the story above, she got it just right.
I miss you and your gift Maggie. Rest in peace.
–Quinn McDonald is an artist who wears the amulet Maggie made for her. Quinn is a writer and a certified creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com