I found this, looking through what’s left. It struck me more than most. The trellis was in our life from our wedding day until the Witch Creek fire reached Del Dios. This is our life then, between marriage, fire, and death. –RA

Trellis, Wife, and Cat

This is how it is done.
This is how you do it.

Making the bed:

One by one I untie the gold elastic knots which bind the blessing words of our wedding to the trellis which is about to become our bed. Its head. The head of our marriage bed.

Next I loosen the raffia which holds the vine heart at its center. I walk it about the place to see where it might like to go. First from the window facing the bed, before settling on the small bathroom window, whose curtain will always remain closed.

I transform this trellis for the next phase of its journey, which has been my plan, its destiny since the day I walked out with it only my shoulder, as I left the garden store. Loving it for those qualities I hold dear, elegant simplicity, and a close harmony with nature. Loving it for the ease with which it could be in my life, something I could raise high with one hand, something my back was strong enough to support.

I drove the trellis home in the back of my red truck, which had carried so many of its brethren home before. Yucca stalks, palm limbs, willow branches, nesting material. I carried it up the stairs to the apartment where we lived then and leaned it against my cream-colored, four-drawer file, waiting to see how it would become. Queen Anne’s, white wax, baby’s breath? I tested them, as I do with my heart, by way of the eye. White wax, whose stem seemed right, relinquished its place to baby’s breath, more appropriate for the day.

I laced the stems around its vine frame, like sewing moccasins for small feet, and topped it with a many-petaled copper bow, sheer to capture the sunlight I counted on. Finally, I hung the heart in the center.

I drove it to the nursery to see what it would like by way of companions. Arranging purples and pinks. Rose, hydrangeas, iris, geranium, common things that would live in our garden later on.

I loved it, as I do love things which are just right and perfectly true. Things which let me into their becoming, which are willing to spring to life in my hand.

It was the altar where I would marry and try to stay married.
I walked it to my friend’s to discuss how it might be staked into the ground. I fell asleep watching it and awoke to see it first thing each day.

On our wedding day I carried it from our honeymoon suite to the garden where we would be wed, placing it in the center of the spiral we would walk. It was the trellis, of course, who knew where the center was, the precise place where it should be.

After the wedding it came back with us to our room. The next day we drove it to our new home, the first furniture to cross the threshold. In the white room with the newly-sanded floors, it leaned against the wall, the wedding baskets with blessings and ceremonial booklets, at its feet.

I had hoped that day to create the bed of my dreams, the one with all white linens. The one that was romantic and true, the one which guaranteed happiness. Two months later it is still not quite done. That is how my visions are. Most often they are developmentally-delayed.

But today I see the necessity of making a good strong beginning. I begin with the trellis. Removing the words dangling from the thick vine, the twisted heart. I unravel the raffia and loosen the flowers which the pillows would rub. I simplify and streamline for daily use, shaping it down to an arch of blooms, now dried, and the copper bow. I light a sprig of sage and blow its smoke upon my work, being careful not to send our whole house up in flames. I say blessings out loud, remembering I should have done this first. Remembering my forgetfulness. Again. Bless this bed. Bless this bed. Bless this bed. Bless this marriage. Bless this bed.

This is how it’s done.
This is how you do it.