weaving a life

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So life rolls on… hotels, craft booths and doctor’s offices with my husband, rehab facility room with my mother, indoor swimming pools with the women in my exercise class, cell phone calls with my sister, my daughter. Facebook. Of course, then there was my granddaughter’s 3rd birthday with the whole gang en masse, my friend’s leather sofa with a glass of white wine, a walk around the ‘lake’, a visit on the porch with my son and his girlfriend, 24 hurried hours in the cabin with my soul-sisters, and 2 actual letters at the post office. I still have some connections to be made… I missed one son’s birthday while I was in the bush.

Reconnecting in the course of a week feels a bit like plugging in so many dangling cords, or perhaps tying them down, each one grounding me here in this place.

This morning I read a few short chapters in an old favorite of mine, Holdfast, by Kathleen Dean Moore. I had gifted the book to my friend at the lodge and wanted to stay connected with her in the reading of it, if I couldn’t be with her physically in the body. I remembered that I had FELT so much in my first reading of the book years ago, that the philosopher’s love of the natural world and love of her people were interconnected, woven into each essay, touched something tender in me.  Indeed, each time I go to my wild places… within or without… there is a similar weaving in me that I long to compose.  In my heart-alive places, all that I love are embraced, simply, without pulling and tugging (or the guilt of not-enoughness)

As I paddle around the next bend in the lake, to take in the sweep of a granite ledged shoreline, so frequently my heart brings to mind someone back home with whom I want to share this heart-full space. Indeed, all 5 of my trips in the water and the wilds this year were with such persons, whom I’d invited to come with me there. However, when I come face-to-face with the silent invitation tendered by pine-studded island, something intimate and sacred there, though I paddle close, I never seem to disembark there, no matter if  the waters surrounding her are battering or still. Afraid? Or simply respecting her untouchable need for solitude in the middle of that vastness.

So, which is the warp and which is the weft? And does it matter at all.

I don’t know much about weaving, indeed I had to look up which was which as far as warp and weft are concerned. What I learned is that the warp, stretched taut on the frame, is made up of the stronger fiber, providing the structure for the fabric, offering both strength and form. It is pulled taut to the point that it cannot stretch any further. The weft, on the other hand is what gives to the weaving its beauty, filling in the body of the fabric with color and texture.

As Anne Morrow Lindbergh noted over half a century ago, in her now-classic, Gift from the Sea, women’s lives continue to be fragmented and divided, pulled apart at the seams.  At least mine does. Or does it? Is my heart truly pulled apart, in too many directions, or am I simply pulled taut, the structure of my heart resilient and strong.

“In the myriad pulls of a woman’s life, which run counter to a contemplative life, a creative life, how to remain whole in the midst of distraction, how to remain balanced and strong no matter what forces pull one off-center”  (sic)

The solution for Lindbergh lay in either alternating the pendulum swing between the 2 extremes of community and solitude (this feels more like an accordian to me stretching and being compressed) or finding a balance somehow.  Her question was how to bring back the lessons she’d learned in the solitude of retreat to her life back home? Her lessons of simplicity are one place I can begin. Certainly that is a gift of my time in the wilderness, too. Like her, I have only the barest of essentials while out there.. the simple shelter of a tent, a simple diet with little choice but what is next in the food barrel, cooked over a simple fire in one pot, a simple map with the route for the day prescribed, the simple presence of being there, undivided. Back home, the choices each day are much less bounded….

“Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Back to my untangling the threads in the warp and the weft of my life, I wonder if, instead of weaving my loved ones into those wild places with me (taking them physically/literally to the water and wood with me), the invitation might be to bring the wild opened spaces of my heart – deepened by beauty and full of joy– back home to my loved ones. (Or perhaps it is a both/and even here….being very careful not to fall into the trap of having to somehow ‘do it all’. In my quest to share those wild spaces with my loved ones, I may have inadvertently filled it with too much to-do, leaving no solitude-space for its own filling up).

I wonder, what does one do with a heart still full of longing? Where does that fit in the weaving?

I have noted often the ways that I feel more whole in places and times when my own rhythms have space to emerge. What are the rhythms of weaving a life? The comings and goings, the risings and fallings, the still moments to ponder the next colored thread, the hours when the shuttle flies, flowing.

Later this morning, over coffee, I opened the new book of poetry I’d received in the mail yesterday.(Life in the Holocene Extinction, by Kristin Berkey Abbott) For some reason, I opened it to the last poem, “Horarium”, the name given to the schedule of those living in religious community. The poet deftly and poignantly contrasted a life of natural rhythms (of a different sort than the ones I experience, but attuned just the same) – rising with the light, tending to the earth, ending the day with the blessing of water – with that of our driven and distracted existence. Here as there, lay the unspoken invitation to bring the peace of that quiet into crafting a life of real meaning, so difficult to do in our fragmented world. I am not alone in this feeling, it seems.

And so I have whiled the morning away. It is already noon and I have done no thing but sit here, wondering how such a life might be woven onto the warp of my existence. Even now, as I type the word, warp, I wonder, is my warp warped somehow? Pulled too tightly in one direction at the expense of the other? What might I loosen then, relieving the pressure I alone give to it, before something within me breaks.

Ah, but my beautiful heart is much stronger than that.

In searching out an image to attach here, I am brought face to face with another teacher of weaving, Spider, whose webs so delight me when laden with morning dew in the fog of the dawn. Cupped like a basket of flowers, or strung like a garland of them, each morning her webs reappear, seemingly crafted anew, blossoming from the very body of Spider, herself. Each day bringing its battering, she begins again her evening weaving, tying down the threads and leaping across chasms. Perhaps, just perhaps, life is this simple, beginning again moment by moment weaving a rhythm to capture the nurture one needs to survive.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. erinmorlock
    Oct 05, 2016 @ 18:58:24

    So now I am wondering if there is a whole other possibility of meaning in Star Trek’s “warp speed” – what is my own warp speed?

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    • emmaatlast
      Oct 05, 2016 @ 19:33:40

      well now, I hadn’t thought of that, you trekkie you. but it’s an interesting idea to play with, isn’t it? warp speed quickly transports you from one plane of existence to another? right? and I suppose that is rather like being able to access a state of being… love, contentment, beauty, deep peace…instantaneously wherever you are. So then, what is your warp speed? (is this a stretch?)

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      Reply

  2. Anonymous
    Oct 05, 2016 @ 19:41:41

    Thank you…

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    Reply

  3. Cheri Roth
    Oct 05, 2016 @ 19:42:13

    Thank you…

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    Reply

  4. Trackback: Warp and weft. | Emmaatlast's Weblog

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