Weaving. It is the dynamism of this word that flashes at me this morning. Furious flying of weft through warp, threads, brilliant, varied, dyes from onion skin, wild-flower petals, natural colours of the wools. Or indigo dye, crushed shells of small sea creatures – the dye that only starts to turn its deep blue when the still wet wool is lifted into the air and begins to oxidise. All these colours, all these threads are waving, wildly combining, crossing over, side by side, every colour, so many thicknesses. For every strand that ends, we tie another connection, start with another brilliant ball of yarn – wool, silk, or maybe cotton. Tufts carded and cleaned, twisted and spun. Or maybe it’s straw that we are spinning into gold. There must be some golden strands among this weaving of mine that binds and brings us all together.
I will not undo this work. I am no Penelope. This is not an act of perpetual deferral, a tactic of delay, waiting for the return of a hero who disappeared the moment he first sailed off to other wars. I weave and weave, the threads begin to weave themselves. There are silk sarees in Tamil Nadu with threads of gold, Navajo rugs woven to hold warmth with beauty through the night, thick Icelandic sweaters, gloves, scarves, hats – weaving, knitting, crochetting, all ways of making something that cradles and comforts from what could just be a tangle of string.
All the ways we turn our love into the work of our hands into the wrapping each other in so much warmth – the work of my hands is to weave these strands into a tapestry that includes all, holds all, keeps us together, warm, safe, sharing space, protected from these cold November winds.
Update: I wrote and typed this up in the spirit of ‘present, not precious’ and was aware that I wasn’t 100% sure about the processes of indigo dye. Curiosity has led me to find that some indigo dyes are made from shells (related to Tyrian purple) but some are made from indigo plants. I’ve learned that the ones made from the plant do, indeed, turn that characteristic blue on oxidation with air. I haven’t determined if this is the case for the dyes made from the shells. The more I look into it, the more fascinating and complex it is.