Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Struck by an Angel

I was late for work the other day because as I was running down the stairs after getting dressed, I noticed that the huge bruise on my left forearm was sticking out from under my three-quarter-length sleeves. I ran back up and found another shirt to iron. Today, I didn't notice I had made the same mistake until someone asked me "what did you do to your arm?" in a surprised voice. It's a little embarrassing to walk into the offices with bruises all over one's arms and legs. I bruise quite easily, so often sport bruises that I don't even know how I got.

This week's bruise, however, was most definitely from an encounter with an angel. My mother and I went to an estate auction over the weekend. We were looking at the collection of tables, chairs, and lamps with soiled shades, when I spotted her standing next to an old butter churn. She was weathered and broken, but she struck me as beautiful in the way worn, unwanted things can. I pushed to the front when the bidding started. The auctioneer started at just $10. She was old, molded in heavy, rocky concrete. She had a mossy patina. No one bid. $5. No bids. No one even looked interested. So I waited. $1 he called and I held up my hand. Without allowing time for anyone esle to even give her a second look, he shouted "Sold, $1."

She was going to be perfect for the little cottage garden I am trying to start in front of my house. I rolled her onto a dollie and pushed her down the street to the car. Once there, I realized lifting her up into the back of the station wagon would be a problem. I should have waited until the end of the sale when one of the hands could help.

I very gently rested the dollie back down onto the pavement and wrapped my arms around her. I bent my knees and took a deep breath. As I stood up I realized she must weigh 80 pounds, much more than I am used to lifting. I'm sure my face was blue by the time I nestled her into the back. As I released her, she rolled back heavily onto my arm.

By the time I unloaded her at home, one of the wings, which had already been chipped, had broken into many pieces. Despite the beating both of us took in our journey to get her from her old home to mine, I enjoy seeing her in the garden each morning. I tucked her behind a large plant, so her left side looks not wingless but merely hidden from view.

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