Filling The Empty Chair

I can’t remember snapping this picture but when I found it on my phone I had to smile. The patterns, the busyness of what was probably early 1970’s era carpet and chair covering. The embroidered antimacassar. Wonderful. Nothing matches, nothing tones together. So unlike current indoor sensibilities. And a home SO full of memories of the woman who once lived there. And images of her beloved companion Dakota laying beside her, white as snow.

I smile at this photograph, it’s a smile of recognition. It conveys the essence of the person, Margaret, who is no longer around to fill the empty chair. And how she filled it! A genuine character, a homesteader from Eastern Montana moved West. My last memory of her in 2010 was throwing a large soft ball back and forth to help with her eyesight. She wasn’t taking difficulties sitting down!

There is something about a persons chair when they are alive too. I’ve sat down in a kitchen only to spring up and move knowing I’d sat in my hosts chair! Enter a room and their are clues as to which chairs or places on a sofa are free and which are not. I miss those clues sometimes (perhaps often) and then when I realize it’s not so easy to shift. Where I’ve been staying in Montana there was a rocking chair by the wood stove which had it’s own presence. It was both somebody’s chair and anybody’s chair and the chair once occupied where the cat would sit! The home was both somebody’s and anybody’s too.  A welcoming open-arm kind of  place. I’m so grateful for my time there.

And here I am back at Shasta Abbey, returning to the room I have been staying in since September. Glad to have traveled and glad to be back. Glad to be resting, as chance would have it, in my long gone teacher’s recliner.

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6 thoughts on “Filling The Empty Chair”

  1. Oh this is a pleasure to read and consider. I often think of you when I see Mr. Jingles the cat sleeping on your recliner.


    1. As a matter of fact I was thinking of my various chairs scattered around. My Alberta chair is special, as they all are, and I am always glad to know it is being sat in. All welcome.

  2. Oh yes : I remember mad pattern disease! And in the 70’s all orange.

    And what a lovely dog!

    Places, objects and people – certainly have a presence and lovely when all taken care of and shared.

    1. In the ’70s I painted a small room orange. It was the toilet actually. The rest of the house was bog standard magnolia with mushroom coloured carpets. The exception to this was the fitted covers for the chairs and the curtains. Sanderson floral design, most tasteful, and really well made. My Aunt was a total perfectionist and I was her apprentice. But the curtains and the chair covers didn’t match. Nice touch although they did tone together OK.

      The dog, and I can now reveal her name which is Zady. This morning I agreed to make her a festive bandana so I’d better take a look through the ‘fancy’ fabric stash to see what we have. Photograph to be posted at some point along with the story of how she came to be here.

      I think it is the ‘taken care of and shared’ which is so important. You see so much sad stuff round especially in thrift stores (charity shops). I’ve no space to buy anything much but I do like to walk up and down and appreciate what’s there. Oh and places….I guess you and others pick up on the love and connection I feel for the Abbey and the surrounding countryside.

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