This one was a gift, though it isn't my first. I have one that was my grandmother's, tucked in with a few of her sewing bits my mother offered me when I left for college. I have a few that came pressed in the bottom of a bag of old bobbles I rescued from an attic in a CT antique mall. I have one scraggly one I made myself during a late night surge of craft and creativity that didn't quite work out as I'd imagined. But this strawberry, a tiny pin cushion of sorts, was a gift from a friend that was left for me as a surprise in my grad school mailbox. Nestled in a carved out orange, it still smells of citrus. It belonged to her grandmother, a woman she loved fiercely, a kind of loves that comes from family ties and complications, a kind of history built on its complexities, and that kind of history makes it even more beautiful - tiny white stitches at its end carrying the reminder of its creation.
It's seemingly simplistic, a classic symbol of stitching recalling memories of mothers and grandmothers tangled in strands of colored thread, clothing punctured by tiny pins that, though removed from the mouth for safety, never quite make the cushion. I keep this strawberry on my desk, just off the edge of the hutch, and I watch as it dances when the typewriter's electric purr begins. I want, without weighting myself with too much sentimentalism, to tell you that it is in those moments of dance that I recognize how alive this small object is, how alive it is with a life I cannot even begin to know.