Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fiber art and the Shakuhachi effect

Mixed days, with scary things happening to HP, always in the early morning, when I'm not at my best, why does this happen, but now resolved, and with wonderful visits from the young woman I'm advising about her art project, and daffodil rustling.

I was out walking around the belt of trees a couple of days ago, where we planted the daffodils in honor of the 9.11 dead, and noticed a woman with a little boy, walking a little way away from me. This year the daffodils were especially wonderful, probably because we had a very cold and snowy winter, always good for them. And I saw that she had a fistful of daffodils. She'd just picked them, taken them. In front of a little child, who now, I expect, thinks it's okay to do this. Now around here daffodils are not wildflowers, and even those we try not to pick because we have rare species around here, which we keep quiet about, to protect them.

So I wondered if I should challenge her, and turned to explain that this was a 9.11 memorial she had unwittingly vandalized. Then I saw her face. Utter misery and dejection, who knows what her life is about. So I refrained, on the grounds that if taking these few lovely flowers made her feel better, well, okay.

Not without a good deal of pain, though, considering all the work it took to plant them, and how I look out for them every year, and how it doesn't help them at all to be ripped out of the ground. I've seen kids do this, and explained to them, and they've been good about not doing it again. But this is the first adult I saw.

So I thought about this, and decided that my defending the flowers year after year is perhaps more than is needed, that if I can let go of other material objects which have served their purpose in my life, why not just let nature and other people take their course, too. Not an easy conclusion to reach, but it occurred to me that it's illogical to pride myself on giving away items that other people now need and I don't any more, and make an exception for the daffodils. And perhaps the gesture of planting the flowers and remembering the people every year has also run its course. It's ten years, and now I can let it become part of history.

This decision was definitely assisted by a joyful visit from Tarang J., after the second set of workshops she taught, at which she had great participation again, to show me some of the output, ranging from fiber mosaics by a five year old and an adult, and various other fiber adventures, including the samples she'd made, very skilled work, too.

I'm so happy for her success, since she took on this award project very seriously, followed through, and with the aid of a terrific mom, my friend Girija, is doing great. At fourteen this is not too bad, and tells you a lot about her bright future. It was a great reminder to me of how life moves on, since she was a preschooler at the time of 9.11 and here she is on the brink of adulthood.

So this has been a couple of days of extreme swings, no trivia happened in the course of this narrative! At times like this, I remember the Shakuhachi effect: what happens to and around us is not an interruption of life, even if it distracts us from what we thought we were doing, it's a part of life.


  1. Is there any sort of plaque marking the flowers as a memorial? Perhaps this might be a good addition and at the same time let you need to be less protective. ALso, I wonder if she knows they are a memorial and she lost a loved one...that would make it a little easier for me to swallow...

  2. Roz aka QuietspiritApril 26, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    I often like to say to a dear friend, "Life intrudes..."


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