I spent our days in the mountains enjoying the in-gathering of place & soul and letting my old body recover from the activity, stress, and excitement of the previous weeks. Our house is under contract, but we are allowed to stay in it until we move into the Friends [Quaker] Homes continuing-care community on August 9. An odd in-between space….
Oh, and when we got home from the Blue Ridge, I found that my healthy, thriving, tall Hopi sunflower plants had been decimated — almost every leaf eaten & some of the tall stalks broken. The upper leaves were definitely too high for our resident groundhog so, at first, I thought “birds.” It may be so, but last night I dreamed it was a raccoon enjoying them, just as the raccoons on our farm enjoyed attacking the stalks & taking the corn on the day before it was just ripe enough to pick. Alas for my dreams of purple dye from the seeds…… But I do know there are raccoons in the neighborhood & I can’t help but admire their wild ways of surviving in an urban environment. Several years ago, when our previous dog kept eating all the new sunflower shoots, I learned that sunflower leaves are especially nutritious. No dye for me, but healthy raccoons! I end up smiling….. and remembering Linda Hogan‘s poem:
The Way In "Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body. Sometimes the way in is a song. But there are three ways in the world: dangerous, wounding, and beauty. To enter stone, be water. To rise through hard earth, be plant desiring sunlight, believing in water. To enter fire, be dry. To enter life, be food."
The engagement with my current fiber endeavor continues to be a fascinating adventure. As I have been struggling to understand how the 3 pieces (a female spirit/mask + a male spirit/mask + the land of which they are a part) could co-create/co-evolve with each other, I have had a lot of time to think about how these processes actually have happened and are still happening at all levels within Earth Community as a whole and within each of her individual elements/beings/selves. The beautiful on-going flows of energy and matter in & out & between & among….The growing, blooming, ripening, being eaten, & sprouting again in a wholly new form…. So much to contemplate. So much to love.
When I finished felting this home/context for the masks just before going to the Blue Ridge, I fell in love with it & didn’t want to put anything on it. I thought maybe I should make a different setting for the masks.
But, of course, the felted piece is not a mere “setting” and the spirit masks cry out, “We, too, are a part of this one whole — neither the felted piece nor either of the us would have come into being as we are without the other two. We are all one thing evolving together.” And I, too, am a part of this evolution — also changing and growing in many ways. I’m curious about what will happen next.
In preparation for their placement, I have finally been sewing in the loose yarn ends on the backs of the two masks. Usually sewing or weaving-in any loose ends is a straight-forward, simple activity. But because I was working only with yarns & fibers I had on hand, I found myself mixing a variety of mismatched yarns — two or three being worked together in different combinations to form the weft. So — so many ends!
I wish I’d thought to take a photo before I started. At least I can give you a glimpse of the final unfinished corner of the second mask. Imagine the whole inside of the mask as a snarl of yarns with no interest in being tidied up…. As an introvert, the dense & wild interior was very familiar — but occasionally, as with my own inner tangle, rather annoying.
I think it must have been these days of finicky work that suddenly brought to mind a wonderful poem by Pattiann Rogers that I hadn’t thought of for years. I am delighted to share it here.
By Pattiann Rogers, from her collection of poems Song of the World Becoming
"God Is In The Details," Says Mathematician Freeman Dyson "This is why grandmother takes such tiny stitches, one stitch for each dust mote of moon on the Serengeti at night, and one half one stitch for each salt-fetch fog following the geometries of eelgrasses in fields along the beach. And this is why she changes the brief threads in her glass needle to often--metallic bronze for the halo around the thrasher's eye, ruby diaphanous for the antenna tips of the May beetle, transparent silk for dry-rain fragrances blowing through burr sages before rain. She inserts her needle through the center of each elementary particle, as if it were a circling sequin of blue, loops it to its orbit, sewing thus, again and again, the reckless sapphire sea, a whipping flag of tall summer sky. Sometimes she takes in her hands two slight breaths of needles at once, needles so thin they almost burn her fingers like splinters of light. She crochets with them around each microscopic void, invents, thereby, an ice tapestry of winter on the window, creates a lace of peeper shrillings through flooded sweet gale, secures a blank jot of sight in the knitting of each red flea of zooplankton skittering mid-lake. God's most minute exuberance is founded in the way she sews with needles as assertive as the sun-sharp loblolly that she sees with her eyes closed: in the way she knots stitches as interlocked as the cries of veery, peewee, black-capped chickadee and jay that she hears with her ears stopped; in the way she whispers to her work, recites to her work, spooling every least spider and air trifid, every hue and rising act of her own hands. Try to escape now, it reads, just try."