Once upon a time there was an old woman who used to be a young woman. She woke every morning to the familiar sounds of the river that flowed outside her bedroom window. It was always her bedroom window. She'd never moved. She'd never married. Her name was Claire.
Claire's life went along like the river. It was a steady river. No surges or drought. Never affected by the ways of the seasons. Even the river stones seemed to stay the same. Never dislodged. Mica flecked and round like baubles. The water baptizing them every second.
When Claire was a child her mother and father insisted that all their daughters (they had five daughters and no sons) had a hobby. A skill that they would take with them into the world. One thing they did better than anyone else. Something to hold onto when life became white and rapid. One sister sang. One sister played piano. One sister baked bread like no other and one sister ate all the bread and everything else in sight, poor heifer! But Claire's talent was quiet and rhythmic. She learned how to crochet. Single crochet, single crochet, double crochet, single crochet... over and over again until everyone had blankets and bags and sweaters and hats... until everyone she loved was covered in her skill.
Soon, it seemed to Claire, her sisters married and moved far away (even the fat one) and then mother and father died and were buried by the river. She wrapped them in black mourning blankets of thick single crochet stitches.
And one morning, she woke in the house with the familiar sound of the river going by. Not rushing, just moving in time with the earth. She looked in the mirror and noticed her fine white hair and her brittle dry skin. She'd become old.
Claire cut her white hair and single crochet single crochet ....made a lace veil like the one she'd never worn for her wedding that she never had.
She stood at the quiet bank of the river. Naked but for the veil covering her time worn face. She walked deep into the water, disturbing for a moment its graceful flow.
And Claire was the river and the river was Claire.
Suzy Hayze 2010