Life in Bootville is by no means perfect. Like most folk, and as I’ve sometimes shared, we struggle in many ways. Some days – some circumstances – are certainly harder than others. There are many things we have not yet achieved – home ownership being a glaring one of these. Some long held hopes will not come to fruition – I’ve made my peace with these. Others are dreams we hold close, accepting that at this moment we are only in a position to take them carefully from their box, lay them out to admire for a few moments, then gently tuck them back in * whilst we busy ourselves with the more everyday aspects of life.
This is not to say that such “everyday aspects” do not possess their own loveliness. Oh they do. Sometimes, when I’m scanning through the archives of block-a-day looking for a particular post or photo, I am struck by just how much loveliness we have created and shared over the last five years.
And I am very mindful, that whilst we Boots might feel that we are not yet living our perfect life, my goodness, we are living an incredibly privileged one. One that is full of love and happiness, good health and security, opportunity and adventure. One that should thus be savoured and gratefully experienced one moment at a time – even when it feels a bit awkward or worrying. You would be amazed of what I’m capable of worrying about – truly, you would!
For me, right now, these feelings of have and have not, of what is here right now and what is missing, of what I dream of and what I must make the most of, are summed up in this quilt top. It’s been at least four years in the making. Possibly five. I started it when I was working at the patchwork store in Brisbane, living with mum. Standing in the store one quiet afternoon, I realised there was only half a bolt left of this sweet Heather Ross fabric so snatched it all up. Along with the last of one of my favourite Kaffe Fassett’s – the richest of the millefiores. After supper that night, I quickly cleared the dining room table so that I could began slicing and stitching. Imagining a quilt that would rest draped over a rocking chair by the fireside in our soon to come Melbourne life. I dreamed about it. Pieced a little of it. Photographed it. Wrote about it. Then it was tidied away and forgotten.
As you can see, I recently found it. Tucked away in a box. As I pulled it out, I ooohed at all that lovely fabric still pristine and uncut. Then, as I opened the lengths of fabric out, small pieced squares and countless strips of varying widths and lengths drifted to the floor and I remembered what it was – what I had dreamt it would be.
I laid the pieces out on the bed and shook my head. Well here we are in Melbourne. There’s no fireside and no rocking chair. Some of what we hoped for when we moved to Melbourne has come to fruition in wonderful ways – especially Abby’s school. It is more than we could ever have hoped for and so very perfect for her. Other things haven’t panned out as we thought they would, but there’s time. Some things have been truly heartbreaking. But what we’ve had instead has given us opportunities to grow – in wisdom, resilience and love.
Now, there is a finished fireside quilt. In this our winter without heating (remember we are in Melbourne, not Moscow!) it will be promptly finished and put to very good use in our living room – Abby is so very stingy with the Moomin quilt and Julian declares that the 4 inch floral is his and his alone.
This rich and glowing quilt, along with so many other treasures we’ve collected, restored and created with an eye to what we dream will come next, will be part of the here and now. And it will serve to remind me that our dreams will not come bursting out of their box like a Jack-in-the-box on Christmas morning, with a marvellous “ta-da!”. No. They will be achieved slowly. Some pieces will be hard won. Some carefully chosen. Some will fall blissfully into place. Some will keep us awake at night. Some might be elusive.
And in the meantime, with our dreams there to guide us, we shall make the most of every precious moment we share.
* this is not an original analogy, but an imperfect and much loved remembering of what Mrs. Darling told Wendy when describing Mr. Darling as a hero in the wonderful 2003 version of Peter Pan.