Mom beaded the way grandmas knit. She could make anything – wall art, bed spreads, Halloween costumes. Some of her beads were so small that when strung, they blended like carpets, where a hundred thousand knots became a single design. Mom kept many of her very first necklaces in an ancient mariner’s chest Jay had brought us from Chile. I loved playing with these necklaces, and not just for dress up. I made them into snakes and eels, stepping stones and paths. At Christmas, they strung across our tree, glistening like jeweled ropes.
Mom always beaded in front of the fire. On those nights that were too warm, we were in the Garden and her box stayed shut. Mom could string almost without looking. She would bead like the winter rain that falls all day long without stopping once. Sometimes I would try too, but I always got tired. Mom said she could keep on and on because she had dancing hands. I had wished for dancing hands too, but Mom said no.
“Your hands are beautiful,” Mom said, “because they are still.”
[Excerpt Landslide, Page 5]