Notes from a Secretary Desk

Note: On Aug. 19, award-winning local author James Rada Jr. led a writing workshop inspired by the objects from the exhibition Treasures of State: Maryland’s Art Collection. The workshop was funded by Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. This is one example of writing that came from that workshop.

By Laura Warthen

The cherry wood reverberated with energy. Each compartment hummed with life – and memories. Robert Folwer’s desk, made by the unknown spirit, now lost in time and history, was presently housed in the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in the Treasures of the State exhibition.

Only the desk remembered who hewed it. The desk, in the small hours of the morning, liked to make up tall tales about the invention of its creation, never to be told or uncovered by historians or those who held, polished and studied it.

The desk, in the long evening hours of the summer, languished, pining. It wondered languorously how it would ever explain, or where to begin; the unfurling string of events that had to happen for the desk to arrive here. It sighed and its legs creaked in reply.

It stood steadfast on the display platform. The desk was surrounded by the mattering of surrounding artifacts. It swelled with importance, then respired. It was, after all, flourishing.