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.