Interconnecting threads make a tapestry

Bird Droppings November 15, 2022

All through history, weaving has been a critical aspect of civilization. For thousands of years, people have been weaving cloth for clothes and blankets to survive, and soon after, weaving began for art’s sake.

“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 was sitting here at 4:00 AM, wondering on this chilly Tuesday morning which direction to go in this day’s writing. I was thinking about students, parents, and teachers and how the intertwining of personalities often produces the fabric of the day. In a graduate class, a professor friend used the term or representation of weaving. Our lives are a tapestry being woven each day as we go.

“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

For many years I was directly involved in the sheep industry with raising, breeding, and shearing the sheep and selling the wool. I traveled nationwide, photographing, 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 pieces of artwork. Back in the day, we had a Hampshire cross ewe that was “black,” When she was shorn, her fleece was chinchilla gray. For several years, 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 with that fleece with my friend showing and helping him.

As Dr. Andrews, retired professor and former chairperson of the Special education department at Piedmont College, commented, weaving intertwines 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 protest methodologies was to spin and weave his cloth rather than rely on industrially produced material. Many other intricate thoughts were woven in as well; spinning is a form of meditation for many. The weaving, creating, and designing of a piece is a 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

We call students’ parents or guardians with each progress report to discuss issues and grades. I spoke with several over the phone back a week or so ago. I walked through my room after school that day, reading a poster hanging around on my wall where ever I had taken up for 30 years; Children Learn what they live. At the same time, one weaves silk while another weaves burlap. Silk has many great attributes, as does burlap and the applications and uses vary. Spinning hemp into twine and weaving the burlap is as a skill as the artisans who weave the silk threads into cloth. The weaving and material made are not the issue, but it is that weaving that is occurring. For it is that effort to produce a life that is so important.

“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

I recently used the word direction and drew criticism from a teacher explaining that choosing a path 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 than the destination, but there is a point to head towards. When building a house, you first build walls, determine where doors and windows are needed, and add them as you go. An excellent builder knows ahead and plans for doors and windows, and designed correctly, a house can have huge windows and great doorways, and movement in and out occurs continually.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle, 1854

Many years ago, I was sitting alongside a fence in a field far away from houses and people, and I watched a spider spin a web. We see webs all around, and I was told there are thousands of spiders per acre in any field. Many spiders are minute and nearly microscopic. The spider climbed to a point and dropped, leaving a strand of silk that climbed and dropped, building a base for her web. Next came the crosslines, and soon a web was built over an hour or so in the process. We see webs and quickly sweep them away, but the spider’s design and care in the making are engrained. Life is a weaving a spinning of a web of sorts, and yes, so often is swept away. Occasionally someone will stand back in awe of the artistry if only we would take note every time. Please continue giving thanks and keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your heart’s namaste.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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