Sunday, February 01, 2015

It's only a marble

I retrieve my blue cat's eye from where it's been lying all winter in the corner of my bureau drawer.  I examine it, holding it up so the sunlight burns through it. The eye part of it, inside its crystal sphere, is so blue, so pure.  it's like something frozen in the ice.  I take it to school with me, in my pocket, but I don't set it up to be shot at.  I hold onto it, rolling it between my fingers.  
"What's in your pocket?" says Cordelia.
"Nothing," I say.  "It's only a marble."
It's marble season; everyone has marbles in their pockets.  Cordelia lets it pass.  She doesn't know what power this cat's eye has, to protect me. 
I've begun to feel not gladness, but relief.  My throat is no longer tight, I've stopped clenching my teeth, the skin on my feet has begun to grow back, my fingers have healed partially.  I can walk without seeing how I look from the back, talk without hearing the way i sound.  I go for long periods without saying anything at all.  I can be free of words now, I lapse back into wordlessness, I can sink back into the rhythms of transience as if into bed.

These words are from chapter 27 of the novel Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood.  They are the voice of a nine year old girl who grows up to be an artist.  The top paragraph reminds me how each of us need and find personal amulets, the lower of my own feelings when I leave the city and come back to my rural home.

the images are of two antique Turkish towels I was able to view close up when we were in Chicago. They are part of the school of the art institute's textile collection.


  1. atwood is good to re-read. she gets it. and is supremely on to the games we play with ourselves.anyway, i love cat's eye, maybe i'll re-read this winter.

  2. I would highly recommend this novel, Velma.

  3. Cat's Eye is my favourite novel by Margaret Atwood, she is such a sharp observer of the human condition

  4. Yes, I liked Cat's Eye, even though I am not a great fan of Margaret Atwood. (Guess that makes me a bad Canadian!)Love those Turkish towels.

  5. I've just begun reading this novel, on the strength of your previous quote. Thank you for sharing

  6. the Art Institute of Chicago is somewhere I have always wanted to visit, I envy you and seeing this beautiful work up close must have been an amazing experience...

  7. Amulets and talismans seem to be in the air like's eyes, goat's eyes...spheres of protective magic.


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx