There are so many beautiful things in this world. Yesterday PawPaw was clearing out vines that had taken over some small trees down beside the driveway. I was ‘supervising’ from the Gator. As he got further back into the woods, he discovered a small bush called a ‘Strawberry Basket’ or ‘Hearts-a-Bustin.’ The little baskets of red berries are so pretty. We carefully marked it with a yellow tie and cleared all of the vines out of it. We had those little bushes at the cabin in NC and I remember them from when I was a child. I was so excited to see one down here. ~LWMetcalf, September 16, 2020, Facebook.
It isn’t difficult to find an analogy for the life of my dear friend, Lynn Warcup Metcalf. She wove a tapestry of connections by being true to herself within, devoted to her loved ones, and attached intimately to her passions all while negotiating artfully the seams with people she might have favored less. Nothing was left to chance. I imagine this is how she went about her quilting process, no doubt negotiating carefully the difficult pieces and parts of the process. She was prone to pointing out that her gifts contained imperfections, which struck me more as fastidious than absurd. I myself am a perfectionist when viewed from many angles.
Where I find it difficult to negotiate the practice of giving because my gifts never feel good enough, Lynn gave as if her generosity kept her very individual breaths flowing. She gave beautiful details, intricate information, and practiced methodical maneuvers from the moment ideas filled her brain until you received a loving card or package in the mail.
She was an ardent defender and supporter of those she loved. She didn’t have enough time to finish everything in her infinite desire to create, appreciate, and describe. She could never have had enough time to express all that she was capable of translating into seams, fabric squares, or as specimens of flora and fauna in written or photographic records of her walks and hikes with Art and Molly. Molly is the dog that found them to promise comfort and company to Art when Lynn’s terminal cancer won the game of solitaire that she had to fight with both hands nearly tied behind her back.
Indeed, Lynn had dreams about Mollie before she ever appeared into the reality of their lives. I wish I could have asked her about her dreams in the last few weeks.
I’ve never really thanked her appropriately for all she did to support me and my ‘Cubbie Bear’ in hard times. I never even managed a thank you note for the last quilt she sent to me as a housewarming gift in what seems like a week ago, but in reality, was maybe more than a month ago. I gushed on Facebook, but I never sent the photos of my new place that I promised. I never felt settled enough to allow myself to write, to express my appreciation, or to describe how amazing her gestures always were – gestures she maintained even as she was battling the depths of a cancer that didn’t provide much insight into how or when she would exit to the greater fabric of space and time.
She relied on her traditions and her faith. She put her whole heart into loving her family to whom she gave unconditional acceptance so that they could be the individuals they needed to be. She held great care for the animals who loved her lap while she paid special attention to her piecing work.
When I met Lynn some odd 27 years ago, I was the baby in a professional team of three people. We were dubbed the three bears, or so we dubbed ourselves, who can remember? Regardless, I became Miss Margaret to her, and she Mama Bear to me. We signed our messages MM and MB over the years. Our dear friend who rounded out our little work family passed away also too soon late last year during an asthma attack while we were all fearing a pandemic. Like Lynn, he left behind a loving family and grand kids. Back in the day, we would sometimes break for coffee and rum cake at a little Greek place across from our offices. Now I suppose those two might enjoy rum cake together in another realm of consciousness, hopefully still watching over me.
As I take in the information that death is inconvenient when lives are cut too short, I realize that I will never not see my dear friend and MB in the details of life, in the quilts and cards she gifted me, and in the generosity of her spirit. Her expressions of generosity connect more than her own being to the greater field of richness, beauty, and the authentic value of all things, no matter how small. She became as a quantum thread, piecing together the entirety of all that touched her life with love and care.
She is in every stitch, every wood-ear, and every tiny mushroom…the sunsets she took time for, appreciative pets, hurting family members, old time recipes and remedies, carefully chosen fabrics, and the deep organization and patterns of nature. She took joy meeting up with, describing, and providing updates about a random but curious yellow cat or lazy cows in pastures along her walking routes. Her photographic journals she posted on Facebook are reminders of this greater field of richness – including the serenity of snow, or the humor in capturing one’s own awkward shadow.
You paid attention to everything, MB. You were like a walking index of information and you knew exactly where to catalogue the next item. You loved babies and nurturing, and you believed women and mothers deserved the greatest care and respect. You cherished. You greeted the sun. You were like a mother Duck ushering your children along, not minding their wandering about but ever keeping them close in your heart and worry no matter how old they got. I don’t think you would have chosen to leave all that is so earthly and intricate, but you seemed brave, realistic about where you were going.
Were you afraid? I pray your bravery kept you clear as you passed through the veil of worlds. It is comforting to know that you have gone there, finally, but only because selfishly, I know that you know me and that you are part of the family of souls who will guide me no matter the level of quantum transformation I encounter in life or death. I imagine everyone by your side has been subconsciously holding their breaths. But I know you would not have chosen this. Your worry, your love for your kids and Art, and your grands and greats was too enormous to let go willingly. This wasn’t fair to you or to them. But here it is.
You painted beautifully in this life in love, creativity, and generosity. Love you MB. Always, MM.
The following are some photos of Lynn’s handiwork, photos of things she loved, and some of the pictures she took of the nature she encountered and her surrounding world. My sincere sympathies to you, Art Metcalf, and to Charlie and Karen and your families.