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Thursday, March 29, 2012

weaving the threads of a life

I was thinking about life threads on the way home from Bangor today, and about weaving, patterns, fabric. Some folks lives seem, at least from the outside, to be woven in a simple pattern, from just a few threads... a check or a plaid perhaps. Simple life, simple pattern, so it would appear. What got me thinking about this was a comment a few days ago by K. He asked me, when I get a loom, would I weave for production (he said "like you hair was on fire") or for enjoyment. My response was that weaving, when I did it in the past, was as much a meditation for me as anything; the repeat motion, the swoosh and thump, the rhythm... He replied, almost out of context, that he wished he had waited and rather than spending the money on the keyboard for me (an almost full length electronic "piano" which was a Yule gift a few years ago) that he had waited and put the money toward a loom. I have not, I will admit, spent much time playing the thing. I had thoughts at the time it was purchased, of a piano. The threads of keyboard instruments (or in this case should I say "strings") have played a visible role in much of my life. There was a piano in my childhood home and I took, and enjoyed, piano lessonPis for many years. When we moved west, the huge, heavy upright did not make the move but shortly was replaced by a smaller electronic organ that I played throughout high school and college. This instrument WAS, admittedly, the scene of a major trauma -- when my folks insisted that I play the theme from Lawrence of Arabia (one of my favorite pieces to play at that time) for guests. I loved that music and always through my soul into playing it, but when I was done one of the guests rudely quipped "Why didn't you play chopsticks? It would have sounded better." That moment ended my public playing for many years, though I refused to let it stop my personal enjoyment. Pianos came and went in my life through the years but as I got older and made many moves, my decision to not acquire anything I could not move by myself eliminated them. Hence the keyboard... which never did get as much play as I would have liked even when it was new. It did not have/come with a stand and I never found any place to set it up permanently that was safe (from being knocked about, or walked and laid upon by the cats) and allowed me to sit comfortably to play. It has come with me to Maine -- as has my guitar -- though both have languished. Music, it seems, though a big part of parts of my life in the past does not seem to run from my fingers now and my ears do not call for it as often as in the past, when the recordings of Mannheim Steamroller seemed to be the soundtrack of life. Thinking about this, I wonder if my allusion to "the tapestry of life" is not, perhaps, more accurate than I had previously thought. In a tapestry, after all, some colors/threads are picked up frequently for a while, then may never show again, or if they do, it is after a long while. There is a design, of course, but not a pattern in the sense of cyclic repetition. I see other threads that have been present for a period, totally absent and now have returned and others which seem to no longer be part of the design as it builds. The garden continues; doing more with less,; use it up wear it out make it do or do without seems to be a constant. Bread baking has gone by for now, though it was a weekly event for many years. The threads of working with fiber seem to morph and change from time to time; I have a long-worked-on counted cross stitch that I swear I SHALL finish before I die but don't have the obsession with that craft that I once did. Knitting and crochet still sometimes lift their heads... spinning is back and weaving wants to come again... But all of these things have had "periods of remission" of differing lengths. I am not writing articles now, nor do I have any desire to hunt down sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena to try to identify them. I haven't sewn my own clothes for years, but I think that may be coming back into the mix... And Grandma Katie's words "Oh, I guess that will do..." will soon be ringing in my mind as our abundance of eggs has prompted me to plan to make several batches of noodles in the next couple of days. There is now room in the freezer to store them and at 3 egg yolks, one whole egg per batch, I think I can account for enough eggs to use up one carton and provide the makings of an angel food cake at the same time.