Saturday, November 12, 2022


On my last birthday, I saw the little red flag on my rural mailbox was raised, so I headed across the street to bring in the mail. Inside the mailbox was a soft package, and my sister's handwriting was on the package. My sister, who lives in Kingston, has developed an interest in needlework in recent years. A couple of years back, she quilted a set of placemats for me depicting a row of Newfoundland jellybean houses: those brightly-coloured rowhouses that line some of the streets of St. John's. I love the placemats, use them often, and they never fail to attract admiration from guests, especially because while the colours are the same, each of them is unique. I got back to the house, opened the package, and was amazed to see a piece of textile art inside. It was a landscape, and while it had a familiar appearance, I couldn't quite place it. She had sewn pieces of brown patterned fabric in the shape of tree trunks, against a background of pearl-white satin. You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Here's the piece of textile art.
Once I had marvelled over the piece, I recognized a spot of yellow on the piece, which instantly located the scene: it was an image of my little yellow boathouse on the edge of a pond, as seen through the trees. I was transfixed to realize she had even added the reflection of the boathouse in the pond water. Inside the package was a note from her, explaining that she had found a photograph on this blog, and decided to render it in fabric as a gift for me. It took me a while to find the photograph, and I'm not going to make it easy for you, either. You'll have to scroll back to a blog post entitled Spring Forward, dated March 6, 2022, when I'd gone down to the island for my first visit of the year, after an unbearably long winter, and had my first presentiment that winter might actually end. It's odd that I should choose today to write this blog post, as it snowed again for the first time this afternoon. Once I'd gotten familiar with this new piece of art for my home, I had to decide how to display it. I'd been saving a beautiful piece of board, and I mounted the piece of textile art on it, and decided to title it Boathouse. I photographed it for my sister; she also liked the board backdrop, but suggested I add some text underneath, to anchor it. I read through the blog post, found a few lines of text which I felt captured the mood of the textile art, and wrote that text underneath. Then I sent a photograph of it to my sister. "Perfect', she said. And that is how I come to have this remarkable piece of art hanging on the wall of one of the guestrooms. Our great-nephew, Benjamin, was recently visiting for a few days. He immediately recognized the scene, as the island is one of his favourite places to visit, and he was just amazed that Auntie Lesley had made such a beautiful work of art. He has since claimed that room for his own, and given me a colour scheme for the walls. Here's how it looks. I can't begin to tell you how delighted I am with it. This is a gift that has made getting older feel worthwhile.

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