Monday, September 24, 2007

1000 pictures

Today's is Elizabeth Perry's 1000th consequtive posting of sketches and musings over at Woolgathering and as part of her online celebration, I am posting my own sketch.

I lost my wedding band this spring. I was out in the garden, preparing urns for a new batch of annuals to be nestled in with the evergreen ivy. It wasn't until hours later - washing my hands - that I realized it was gone.

"Where were you?" he asked, when I came back in an hour later, still crying, still without it (meaning 'where had I been where I could have lost it'). I shrugged, helplessly. I'd been everywhere. We looked everywhere. We dug up everything I'd planted. We sieved the dirt. Over the next week we bought and read the manual for a metal detector and struggled manfully with said detector. We dug up the plants again. I cried some more.

I wrote about it; dreamed about it; prayed about it; pondered the why's and wherefore's of it. Not to mention the where-the-hell-is-it?!!'s. I couldn't find it and it didn't turn up. We still look for it, walking in the garden. My empty left ring finger was a mute accusation of my carelessness. How could I not have felt it slip off?! Strangely, I felt like I had failed as a wife. This was the symbol of our marriage - our treasure - and I had proven untrustworthy in guarding it. I lost it! Way to go. . . .

No, I didn't tell the king that. But neither did I press to get another one made. I started feeling unreliable with respect to my engagement ring and rarely put that on. . . . Fine. I didn't wear rings before I got married - just a few years ago - so what's the big deal? I won't wear rings now. Clearly, I'm not to be trusted with them.

Still, when I least expected it, a wave of loss would wash over me and I would finger my married ring finger, feeling the missing ring like I hear people who've lost limbs still feel them. How silly to feel such desolation over a ring. A piece of metal. OK - platinum metal, and have you checked the prices on platinum lately?! But still. I just missed my ring.

Last week, in the middle of dissertation hell, the king and I went out onto the porch for a happy hour glass of wine before dinner. The squirrels have been at work in my garden and urns, busily burying and unburying nuts and such. I scolded one of them who came within earshot: "I better not catch you in my urns! I'll whup your butt!" The king and I laughed. "Unless, of course, you find and return my ring," I added. "Then you can dig in the urns all you want!"

"You really think you're going to get it back, don't you?" the king asked.

"Well, I hope I will." I said. "I'd kind of lost hope there, for a while, but now I find myself looking again, quite expectantly. Almost as if it will be brought to me and left on the front steps. . . . But I haven't found it yet." I smiled. So did he. He went inside a moment and came back out.

"I didn't know when to give this to you." he said. "Now seems the best time." He placed a little box on the concrete bench we use as our coffee table on the porch. I started crying. (and I've started crying again, thinking about it. . . .)

I can't believe he had another ring made for me. Just like the first one. The one that's lost in our garden. The one that matches his.

This one is just a little different, though - I can't quite put my finger on it. But it's growing on me. Like a second chance.


K Spoering said...

Somehow, I linked to you through Elizabeth's blog. I, too, lost a ring working in my garden once. Looked and looked, and finally gave up and replaced it, as you have done. The following summer, I stuck my hand into my garden gloves, which had been carelessly tossed into the garden shed for the winter, and there was the ring! Hiding in the glove's ring finger. Did you use - and check - your garden gloves? I hadn't even thought of them because I don't use them much, but must have on that day. The gloves were a bit tight, and the ring a bit loose. Hope you still find it somewhere! I like your sketch. Kate

Non-Essential Equipment said...

Did you see this week's Lives essay in the Sunday Times magazine?

Rings are apparently on the brain all over.