Bird Droppings November 28, 2012
Some will see a tapestry as a spider spins others a cobweb
“For certain fortunate people there is something that transcends all classifications of behavior, and that is awareness, something which rises from the programming of the past, and that is spontaneity; and something that is more rewarding than games and that is intimacy. But all of these may be frightening and even perilous to the unprepared. Perhaps they are better off as they are, seeking their solutions in popular techniques of social action, such as ‘togetherness.’ This may mean that there is no hope for the human race, but there is hope for individual members of it.” Dr. Eric Berne, Games People Play, 1964
The title intrigued me as I am sitting here at six in the morning in my classroom wondering which direction to go in this morning’s writing. I was thinking about students, parents and teachers and how so often the intertwining of personalities produce the fabric of the day. I recall in a graduate class a professor friend used the term or representation of weaving on a loom. My other life a few years back was tied to the sheep industry in the Southeast and affiliated side industries including hand spinning and weaving. The concept of our lives as a tapestry being woven each day as we go fascinates me.
“Each person designs his own life, freedom gives him the power to carry out his own designs, and power gives the freedom to interfere with the designs of others. “ Dr. Eric Berne
Thinking back so many years I was directly involved in the sheep industry with raising breeding, of course shearing the sheep and selling the wool. I traveled nationwide photographing and talking to producers and writing about the sheep and wool industry. I met many hand spinners and weavers as I traveled. Some were artisans spinning yarn as fine as silk and weaving literally pieces of art work. Back in the day we had a ewe a Hampshire cross ewe that was “black” and then when you sheared her the fleece was a beautiful chinchilla gray. Many years back a dear friend would get that fleece each year for her spinning and weaving. Somewhere in a box is a small ball of yarn my oldest son spun one afternoon when he was six years old with that fleece and my friend showing and helping him.
Life, as Dr. Donna Andrews, former chairperson of Special Education Department at Piedmont College commented on in class is a weaving an intertwining of events and people.
“A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, nothing else. “ Mahatma Gandhi
One of Gandhi’s methodologies of protest was to spin and weave his own cloth rather than rely on industrial produced material. Many other intricate thoughts were woven in as well; spinning is for some spinners a form of meditation. The process of weaving, creating and designing a piece is literally painting of a picture with thread and yarn.
“A man’s action is only a picture book of his creed.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
So as we weave our cloth in life we are seen by the fabric, the pattern, and the methods we use to make that piece of cloth.
“When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. “John F. Kennedy
With each required progress report we call student’s parents or guardians to discuss issues and grades. I spoke with several over the phone back a week or so ago and some were not available. I walked through my room after school that day reading a poster that has been hanging around now on my wall where ever I take up for now nearly forty years, Children Learn what they live. While one weaves silk weaves burlap. Silk has many great attributes as does burlap and the applications and uses vary. To spin hemp into twine and weave the burlap is as much a skill as the artisans who weave the silk threads into cloth. The weaving and material made is not the issue but it is that process of weaving that is occurring. For it is in that effort that it is being made into a life.
“Understand clearly that when a great need appears a great use appears also; when there is small need there is small use; it is obvious, then, that full use is made of all things at all times according to the necessity thereof.” Dogen Kenji, Zen master
Recently I used the word direction and drew criticism from a teacher trying to explain that choosing a direction in a journey and not truly having a destination is sometimes a meaningless effort. For some just going is the norm. I always speak of the journey being more important versus the destination but there is a point to head towards. When building a house first you build walls you determine where doors and windows are needed and add them as you go. Granted you will have a design a blueprint prior to starting but many a house has changed on the go as a builder sees a differing view as walls go up. A really good builder knows ahead and plans for doors and windows and designed properly a house can have huge windows and great doors and movement in and out occurs continually.
Many years ago I was sitting alongside a fence in a field far away from houses and people I watched a spider spin a web. We see webs all around I have read there are thousands of spiders per acre in any field. Many of the spiders are minute and nearly microscopic. Anyhow the spider climbed to a point and dropped leaving a strand of silk. The spider climbed again and dropped and so forth building a base for her web. Next came the cross lines and soon a web was built over an hour or so in the process. We see webs and easily sweep them away but the design and care in making is engrained in the spider. Life is a weaving, a spinning a web of sorts and yes so often is simply swept away by a casual or thoughtless act. Occasionally someone will stand back in awe of the artistry. If only we would take note every time. Please as we partake of a new day keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
Wad de (Skee)