Weaving together the disparate threads of a story

This isn’t the story of a young woman who drew her life plan with such confidence, all the lines firmly inked with pen. Or how she found herself in love with a dreamer. Virgo and Aries were not destined for happy ever after. No, we leave that young woman in the past, standing on a mountaintop with a string puddled at her feet. while the balloon sailed freely away.

She took that string home and learned to weave.

She prowled the mountainside in the company of mythical cheetahs, leaping, and dancing, drawing life plans next with charcoal, and eventually with a stick in the sand. Virgo can be the firm bedrock of the mountain, but also the shifting sand, swept freely by wind, water or a carefree hand.

Isn’t weaving one of those things drawn with firmly inked lines, the thread held taut in submission and manipulated by the visions of frustrated mathematicians? Or does it become a dance of fingers across dynamically tensioned threads, a harp upon which to play music from deep within the heart?

This is the story of a dreamer who lets the thoughts of smiling people wash across her, occasionally wincing at a hidden thread of bitterness or sorrow. One who has worn the circlet of the stars with reverential mirth, and one who still feels too young to claim the cloak of the wise crone, though it came along with the teapot and other trappings of the office. She aspires to all this, but her dance card is full and there are countless ideas that deserve an enthusiastic “YES!”

In Grasse, the fields are carpeted with lavender, or at least they were the last time I was there. Things change, but not in the context of this story. The fragrance hovers above the ground, rising and falling with the wind and sun. This is the dynamic tension between dream and reality, balloon and mountain, me and the string. This is how I weave and why I weave.

May I present Aislin to you? She is the wise and calm woman of that chance meeting on a broken-down subway train, the face I see in the still waters that rise in the woodland glade, and when I ask who she is, her answer is always the same.

“I am whoever I am needed to be.”



The summer before I went away to Smith College, I enrolled in a tapestry weaving course at my local community college. I felt strongly that if I didn’t learn to weave, right that very minute, that the opportunity might slip past me and that I might never weave at all.

It was a glorious summer, and I learned as much about the world as I did about warp and weft. I was probably the youngest student in the course, and other than the anti-war movement that my whole family was involved in, I had grown up very sheltered from the rest of the world. I came away from the course with a love of both spinning and weaving, and a brain filled with the wonders of environmental activism, utopian societies and a belief that the individual has power to change the world. Who knew that my political beliefs would be formed thread by thread?

yarma_medium2I’ve picked up my tapestry bobbins again, reaching back through time to remember how. I still have the instinct for expansive sweeps of color, broad lines sketched on paper, and then ignored as the weaving comes to life. I need to regain the gift of working more freely, adding little grace notes of color and texture as the work takes on its own life. This work is flat, intellectual, and too methodical.

Changing the world, one thread at a time. I still believe in that.

And, hand-to-hand, we cast the circle.


(Tapestry, Hands of the Goddess, Embracing Us All)