Saturday, April 30, 2011

The table.

I have ordered a table.

I was at a gathering Thursday night with a similar one, and when I walked in, I exclaimed about it. It's the table I'd been searching for--the one that was expansive enough, and showed itself off without adorning paints and turns and knobs. It looked like the tree it came from, just an adaptation, really, of "tree" and forest--a flat plane now, around which to sit and eat and talk...horizontal and not vertical, but still tree-ish, still harboring nests (all of us clamoring birds, mouths open to take in food and cheep, cheep, cheep our stories).

I have ordered a table, because it's not enough to have a surface to put food on. One must lean on it, chin cradled in palm supported by crooked elbow, ear cocked toward friends.

It will be big and sturdy. The man who is making it uses reclaimed Douglas Fir, and he warns of imperfections (oh, please, let there be many. Let there be nails from house boards or holes from worms, or gouges from a Downy Woodpecker).

It seemed urgent this week, this need for a real table. I think it was the way the sunshine (finally) and apple tree flowers and ripe rhubarb (after such a long winter) bumped up against the death of my friend, Kim Ricketts (who will never sit at this table, the person who would love it as much as I, who would know what it meant).

It's been one year since I moved into this house. She's the first person who saw it (Neighbor! We're neighbors! I must bring you cake!), and the books she brought me last month when I had a cold are still lying on the piano bench, because that's how fast time goes.

And one must have a table, because there are so many stories yet to tell, and plates of cake to share, and books to discuss, and friends to greet, who--like birds--light on your shoulder for such a short time, and hop excitedly, cheeping in a squeaky voice, and then fly away before you can tell them that you love them.


tea_austen said...

Oh, Jenifer--this is so lovely, so moving, and has made me so tearful (you are a gorgeous writer).

I bought a dining table when I first came to Seattle, for many of the same reasons (you can read my less lyrical and much longer post here, if you'd like). I'd be honored to pull up a seat at yours. And we'll leave one place empty, for the dear one we miss so much.

Jenifer Ward said...

Thank you! And irony of ironies, the table I'm having made has benches, too! You will know it.

Shauna said...

I would love to sit with you at that table soon. This is so gorgeous and moving. Thank you.

Jackie said...

Jenifer, this is a lovely piece of writing. Thanks for sharing. And congrats on your new, wonderfully imperfect table. May you make many amazing memories seated around it.

Jeanne said...

Lovely, Jenifer. Thank you.

Terry C said...

I would not have known of your blog without your response to Tea, and I am so glad to have discovered your site as well. Thank you for this beautiful post, and for causing me to think about tables in a whole other way. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your dear friend.

kcline said...

This is so beautiful. Kim will sit with you at your beautiful table - every single time you think of her.

Jaime {sophistimom} said...

Such poignant writing.

I never knew Kim, or of her, until this week as everyone has mourned her loss. My heart goes out to you, and all who knew . . . know her.

Your last line about the birds has put a lump in my throat. It is so desperately true.

Jenifer Ward said...

Thank you all for the kind words.