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  • Writer's pictureJenny Dunaway

How Long Is Forever?

“Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second."

Lewis Carroll

Some nights when I can't sleep I wander into the dining room and pull out my soul collage supplies. Friday night was one of those evenings. I had been down to Poquoson to have supper with my mom and my sister to celebrate their birthdays. We had enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Japanese restaurant and came back to Mom's house for birthday cake. I had made a pig-picking cake which I pulled out of the trunk. It was heavy in the cooler but the 97 degree day made it necessary to keep it chilled. I couldn't help but notice a rather plump rabbit eating clover right in the front yard. He looked up at me and then continued his dinner not concerned in the least about my presence. Mom has always had a thing for rabbits. I told her it was her spirit animal.

When I came out of the front door awhile later, I said my goodbyes to Mom and Boo. Then, I noticed our furry friend still munching away. We laughed at his lack of fear and I had this overwhelming feeling that my dad was sending a birthday greeting from heaven. Perhaps my encounter with the bunny inspired this soul collage card. Mom and Boo were headed to Graves Mountain Lodge the next morning for a quiet, relaxing vacation. I have always loved Madison County and I wished I could go, too. The mountains have a way of healing my heart and I long for the peace I feel when I'm there. Climbing Old Rag is on my bucket list and my inspiration to be able to hike again. The orchards around Graves Mountain would be heavy with apples and their sweetness could be inhaled with every breath. The Rapidan would be playing its symphony and I would feel alive, again. I try to live vicariously through the adventures of my family.

I had been making a genealogy junk journal for Mom and Boo about our Colonial ancestors so the table was still a mess. All my glue, special paper-cutting scissors that Michael bought me, and ephemeral resources were already there. I began pulling images, cutting, and gluing. It's a very meditative process, unbelievably relaxing. A few minutes later, this soul collage was finished. Okay, I thought, what in the hell does it mean? I would sleep on it and that's what I did. I crawled back into bed and slept until Tippy started barking to go outside.

With fresh eyes I looked at my most recent soul collage creation. Google always helps when I am uncertain of the symbolism for various images incorporated into my card. I tend to look for the Native American and Celtic metaphors because of my heritage. Rabbits were considered as tricksters but revered for their intuition. They were often seen as messengers between the living and the dead. Ladders are connections between heaven and earth. Apples represent love and, of course, labs represent unconditional love. So what was God trying to tell me through this card? (I always see the process of making the card as a conversation between God and me--He talks, I listen.)

I believe He is reminding me of His unconditional love. The apples are my brothers, sister, and I. That love is eternal; even though Bruce isn't here, anymore. The hare made me think of the conversation between Alice and the White Rabbit where she asked him, "What is forever?" He answered, "Sometimes, just one second."

Mom and Dad (the rabbit) didn't have as much time together as they had hoped. However, the love they shared is forever. I know my time on Earth is temporal but I must never give up on my dreams and I must never give up on love.

So, Happy Birthday, Mom, and Dad says Happy Birthday, too! I love you!

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