The header graphic for the 2003 Redwood Review
Ambushed, by Anne DuBose Joslin

Stillpoint by Denise Lussier

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Arms full of groceries, I step from the market into the cool night under a full and beckoning moon. On a whim, I drive to the beach to see the moon stitching a wide path of silvery light across the water far out to the horizon. It occurs to me that the shimmering mysteries of the nocturnal ocean are the moon’s needlepoint project. She, a wiser woman than I, is working her silent threads at the height of her fullness.

I, on the other hand, have long forgotten mine. I remember my first hoop, at ten, and the skeins of satiny threads of so many enchanting colors — aqua, rose pink, lemon yellow, spring green, and orange. Cross over cross, stitch by stitch, slowly, rhythmically, my needle would find the pattern traced in blue ink on white linen fabric. A delight to behold, the colorful thread would become a rose, a leaf, a stem. There I sat on a woolen blanket in a sea of fragrant grass, amidst the cool shade of my house, following my threads in a stillness laced with the occasional twitter of a visiting bird, or a voice slipping through the front-door screen out into the yard.

Meadow View Imports

Newport Art Museum

Eastern Yacht Sales

All that summer, my mother never saw my project. I stuffed it into a worn and wrinkled brown paper bag whenever she was nearby. A collection of Xs emerged on the cloth, a border of flowers on an apron that was to be a gift, a gesture of my love. The garden of Xs somehow reminded me of the handicrafts of the Dutch people, and I secretly fancied my mother in her apron, wearing a pair of wooden clogs. Point, set, and push through and pull the long thread. Color upon color took its place as the border grew. Until one day, the apron was complete. The fullness of its white billows neatly ironed, one last time, I felt with my fingers the silk of the petals and the nubs of the knots that composed the center of the flowers. I wrapped the apron in pink paper and set it in the bottom of a drawer in quiet anticipation of the day of my mother’s anniversary and the cherished moment of her surprise.

In those days of warm bright sand and cool salty water, of roads unraveled with the steady pulsing pump of the pedals of my bike, and my downy arms and legs brown with summer ripeness, in the late afternoons, I sat with silken threads of shimmering colors and created a silence I still remember.


God Bless America© 2003 Timshel Literature