A mountained mercy
Glowing on the horizon
From every pore
Of the woven road
‘Neath my needled feet.
I thread my way through
Rosehip and riverbed
And though I falter
I keep digging
Down and up
Where reveries meet.
These fragments of fabric and stitch hold a beauty which sometimes takes my breath away. It seems silly, downright dumb, to be faffing about with scraps of fabric, castoff pieces from not-so noteworthy fabric, trims, and lace. I have a vintage piece or two, but most of it is quite modern and ordinary. I haven’t even over-dyed anything, nor eco-dyed with plants and rusted objects.
Yet it is in these ordinary small bits I see a beauty come alive in my hands, slowly, in a perfect rhythm that allows my mind to mull and consider and then decide as one goes. I have a sense that I am joining together things which have been sundered, or broken in some way. That I am repairing what has been lost, not to its original state in any way, but to an altered reality that speaks of redemption and reconciliation.
Those are huge words for such tiny bits of thread and cloth. It is indeed a junction where reveries meet…ordinary and extraordinary, minutia and expansion, commonplace and sacred. Where the needle hits the cloth is quite startlingly a point of intersection, so many things being brought together that were once separate, sundered even, needing hope and renewal.
My own life of late is full of these junctures. It has always been true in my artistic journey that I am given a means, a medium, in which to work out what is going on in my day to day living. Just like one of author Sarah Addison Allen’s characters who seems to be given a book just when she needs it, so I am granted a way of creating that allows me to step into what I am experiencing and understand it or at least have a way to hold it, to hold on, and not fly apart in a million bits of frayed fabric.
This is patch #11 in this series which I began in early February and which continues now on into Lent. I stitch in the morning and in the evening on most days and I know I am aging as I see my hands, so much like my mother’s. I read a small piece in Wendell Berry’s book The Art of the Commonplace which made me breathe a sigh of release, hoping this might be me…a mountained mercy, a hill of grace.
“The hill is like an old woman, all her human obligations met, who sits at work day after day, in a kind of rapt leisure, at an intricate embroidery. She has time for all things. Because she does not expect ever to be finished, she is endlessly patient with details. She perfects flower and leaf, feather and song, adorning the briefest life in great beauty as though it were meant to last forever.” -Wendell Berry.