Wooden, glass, ceramic, stone. So many colours – reds, teals, purples. Round, flat, cylindrical, ridged, irregular, oval. Coral, turquoise lapis lazuli, shaped and hammered silver and brass.They slip through my fingers, larger than grains of sand but similarly fleeting. I am searching through a bowl of beads, looking for the next one to add to my string.
On the radio this morning I hear Borodin’s Overture to Prince Igor, and I think of Kismet. Then I remember ‘Baubles, bangles, bright shiny beads’, my favourite tune from that show, also lifted from Borodin – the string quartet no. 2 in D. I decide that when I type this up, I will listen to the quartet and the song. When it comes to choosing the version that suits my mood, I can’t choose between the quartet and Sinatra. I’ll keep them both.
I like the feel of beads in my hands, their coolness, hard, smooth, unyielding to my grip. I like the sound of one landing on another as it travels down the fine fishing line of my bracelet-in-the-making or along the rough red yarn or old shoelaces that held the clunky, bright wooden beads selected and strung together by my children when toddlers.
Perhaps what I like best about beads is that they are materials for making, for stringing together things unlike and unlikely, side by side.
What is Present, not precious?