Layered Gold


It is only in the high 90s.

The 11th Century fort on the hill to our left glows bright copper in afternoon’s high sun. The desert city is layered gold.

Mottled cream and caramel cows and goats neither yield nor look up as I place my arms around a textile merchant’s waist and we careen on his motorcycle across town.  My daughter stays behind.  As I glance back I see her standing in the store’s door-less doorway, stacks of mirrored, thickly embroidered jewel-colored cotton and waffled silk beyond her, intricate overlays of ochre stone on the windows above.

My motorcycle mission: to extract a significant amount of negotiable currency from my bank account, the corpus of which lies half-a-world away.


I am wearing my daughter’s tea-and-thyme airy cotton kurta, a little worse for the wear from sleeping in the top berth on an overnight train.  It would endure yet more crumpling on our next stop: an overnight camel safari from Jaisalmer to the Pakistani border.

I am not wearing a helmet.

My mother would be appalled with just about every facet of this adventure.

My daughter, my hostess here, is pleasantly surprised and seems very pleased with me.

I am confident that her father, too, would be delighted to behold this scene in a place and space I never would have found myself had he not bequeathed to me some of his sense of adventure.

He, of course, would have signed on for the full-week camel safari.  He would have tied on a scarf, Lawrence of Arabia-style, and peered ahead into the strong sun with eyes that in his all-too-short life always gave him a better than 20/20 view of the world.  He would have looked back at our beautiful daughter and turned his head forward again before she noticed, so as not to unnerve her by beaming too brightly with pride at the young woman she has become.

If he were still alive, he would most certainly be the one here with her, and I would be at home in New Hampshire, afraid even of flying.

If he were here, our daughter would not have to constantly watch her parent for signs of dehydration and ply me with water, alert me when I may and may not take pictures, or coax me to expand my culinary choices.

But here I am.

Baby steps.



About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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8 Responses to Layered Gold

  1. rutakintome says:

    I think baby steps doesn’t quite capture it…more like giant leaps into the adventure that honors!

    • Stephanie says:

      I heard on the radio a story of Boston area parents of murdered children who meet with their children’s killers and offer them a measure of forgiveness as a kind of exchange when the killers express true remorse. One woman said their credo is, “We can’t have our loved ones back, but we can carry them forward with everything we do.” I am particularly thankful for your comment because I realized that’s my ultimate aim in what I do now: I’m trying to do things I never would have done and that my husband didn’t live to do, to honor him and his enduring spirit of adventure.

      • rutakintome says:

        Here’s to a future filled with motorcycle memories! Cheers! The rich soil of anguish, loss and sorrow is exactly where trees and flowers of beauty and strength can grow, often fed by our tears and laments. I would truly wish I could have met him.

  2. Pingback: Layered: Sky 2 Blue | What's (in) the picture?

  3. A W Martin says:

    This is so beautifully written — thank you so much for writing what is such a pleasure to read.

  4. Wow, Stephanie. And you are certainly one brave woman! Beautiful photos and interpretation for Layered.

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