May the Life You Salvage Be Your Own

In mid-life now, I’m looking around for what I’ve salvaged.

Heather Darby-DeMarco
Jun 12, 2023
2 min read
AncestorsWord Witchcraft
Photo by Mojor Zhu / Unsplash

My grandmother kept thread ravelings in a box. I was fascinated by the raveling box as a child. Bits of threads of all colors, mostly small lengths, but a few long ones, swirling together in an old cream-painted sewing box with a blue and white calico quilted pin-cushion top made to hold head pins and sewing needles. I would go into her sewing room, get the box down from the shelf, sit legs-folded on the floor, and stare into the threads. My hands would walk along the chaos, pulling some threads out and apart from the masses, gathering small handfuls of threads to disentangle while I sat near her as she sewed. How had she sewn so many threads?

This was a magic box, full of softness and strangeness and questions about the life she had, and the life I would have one day. Would I have a raveling box, too, and sew for a lifetime? What threads would I use, collect, and save?

After disentangling a few threads I would place them neatly back on top and we would make dinner while listening to the news on the radio.

I would give almost anything for one more day, sitting at her feet, looking through the raveling box, while she sewed.

In mid-life now, I’m looking around for what I’ve salvaged. What bits and bobs have I collected as I’ve gone along? My life feels empty of those sorts of evidence. Evidence that I’ve sewn many fabrics, weaved many threads, mended things. What have I salvaged from my past? What of the old ways, the old days will I take forward?

What have I salvaged from my past? 

I salvage childhood church songs from the tabernacle, a dusty place full of spirit; lemon cool and broccoli salad recipes from the ladies at church; a love of poetry, letter-writing, and word play. I won’t let daily candle lighting, humming while doing the dishes, and listening to the birds in the morning be destroyed.

Tea always. There's tea for every ailment and moment in life. My love of tea I’ll carry from my grandfather, and coffee too – he loved a good, strong cup of black coffee and peach pie. I do too.

From my mother, it’s music, dancing, and opening the windows for refreshing a person’s spirit or cleaning the house. Let the light in. Turn it up. Dance while you dust!

From my father, I save knowing when to run and how to not look back.

From my grandmother, I claim a way of being gentle in the world. I hold her quiet wonder and contentment to sit barefoot on the porch and listen to the birds in the morning sun.

May this life I salvage, be my own. And, so it is.


Heather Darby-DeMarco is founder and head witch of Wild Moon Charm School, a medium and psychic-intuitive, healer, and writer. She lives on Hopewell and Adena land in Central Ohio with her chosen family, wolfy dog, and crows. Find her at wildmooncharmschool.com or Instagram @heatherdarbydemarco or @wildmooncharmschool

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