This trip took us through a history buff’s paradise. We spent days at Civil War sites. We reviewed the War of 1812 at the Hermitage. My husband soaked it all in. I found respite in the bookstores.
Us mothers have feelings about war. We are the ones that carry new lives inside our bodies. Then once they are out, we are responsible to keep them alive. We keep them clean and dry and safe from harm and danger. It is our passion to protect them out of profound love and devotion.
So when those mothers of those soldiers let them march off to battle, I cannot for the life of me imagine what they felt. Where did they get the strength to let their babies go? And couldn’t the generals and president work harder to figure it out in peace?
So I dipped in and out. I walked the battlefields with my husband, then went to the car to warm up. I watched the video presentation in the interpretive visitor center, then I stole away to the bookstore to pull myself together.
Not only was I in Civil War territory, I was also on the Trail of Tears. I was also in a state that was a slave state, and all of these remembrances bring sadness.
I also dip in and out with my quilts. I’ve noticed that my projects have a rhythm. I make a bright, colorful, cheerful quilt, then a somber reproduction, then happy, then sad, and so on. It took me a few quilts to realize this pattern. When I’m sewing with reproduction fabrics, I get to feeling melancholy. I’ll write about this rhythm in a future post.
There is controversy regarding the role that quilts played in the Underground Railroad. When I skimmed through a few pages of this book, I came to understand why. The author wrote in a nonfiction manner, presenting her case as if it was based on actual fact. I would have taken it as straight up truth had I not learned otherwise. I would have loved the part quilters had in freeing the slaves. Quilters are intelligent and helpful and resourceful. Totally believable.
But there are equally noble truths about this dark era in our history. Those beautiful people caught in the crosshairs of war brought resolve and intelligence to their situations. Their lives were completely interrupted, and they had to keep clearheaded in order to figure out how to survive. How did they mentally process what was happening all around them? I marvel at their tenacity and perseverance. There was nothing civil about that war.