Norine Dresser was married to Harold for three-quarters of her life. They had an intimacy that was both amazing and funny; they knew how to make each other laugh and could drive each other crazy. Harold chewed cigars long after he quit smoking them. Last week, Harold’s heart wore out. It wasn’t like we didn’t see it coming, but no one wanted to split up the two, and no one wanted to say goodbye to Harold. His death was a loss for his family, for humor, for a little gentleness in the world.
The day Harold died, I was teaching. At noon, I was about to call the lunch break when I smelled cigar smoke. The business location was a strict no smoking area, so it was strange to smell smoke, but it was distinctly cigar smoke. At the same time I realized I hadn’t heard from Norine in a while. I called the lunch break and went to check my emails.
When I got home, I found the message on my cell phone. I keep it turned off during class, and there was Norine’s daughter’s voice, serious and tired, as if she had made many of those calls.
I began to make the card I had hoped never to make for Norine. When I make cards, I almost always make two at the same time, in case one doesn’t work out. It’s an old artist trick, to make one you care about and one you don’t.
Almost always, the one you don’t care about turns out to be far more interesting–you weren’t overthinking it, and it becomes the more natural, easy card.
One of the cards (above) is dark, in grays and mauves. A quince tree shadow is on the bottom, and two curved lines cross above it. The big dipper is above, and three tears in marbled paper are on the left side.
On the other card, a moon with a tree’s shadow across it (thanks, Robin!) is eclipsing a jeweled globe. A severe leaf pattern balances the blank stripe on handmade paper.
So now, one of these goes off to Norine and her family, the other one stays with me for a while.
If it were up to you, which one would you send?
You can vote at my other blog site.