Questions in the Forest

Things always come up that make me ask questions. This week, it was pain and isolation felt within the knitting community over exclusive behaviours. So, I thought I’d write about it from my perspective, sort of:

From early childhood, attention was drawn to cleaning up the mess. Man’s inhumanity to man. Mistakes. Personal inadequacies. Bad behaviour. Spilt milk. Mine, theirs, ours.

Enormous energy was channelled, almost completely, into correction, alignment, achievement. At least that’s how it seems to me.

But, I had mostly questions.

“You must be very wrong,” I said to myself. For years and years and years. “You must be wrong.” And that’s it. And a brick wall.

A few things happened. A child or two. Free time. A bit of nature. Maybe a forest. A question. These things, especially in combination it turns out, have the power to break down the brick wall.

No matter the person, his history, her biology, when a question is asked in any environment, something will grow. Especially when asked in community. Just two or three. You and me.

 

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A question creates. Unites, sometimes. Clarifies. It is a thing we can all identify with and use. It is a thing which can open up space and possibilities. The open-ended question. Sometimes, not the possibilities you want. Even the multiple choice question can show you something. Or the dreaded yes or no question. But, the open-ended question is a real thing of beauty.

So, rather than doing the habitual thing and turning away from mistakes, bad behaviour, even evil; Rather than shutting out life by shutting out death (which can’t be done anyway) and rather than believing there is a perfect side to join, a ideal club to belong to or a fixed way to do things, I choose to be here with you, in the forest, and to ask:

Who are we?

What’s going on here?

What are the perspectives?

Where do we come from?

Where are we going?

How will we get there?

These, and many more questions, in all sorts of scenarios.

There is also silence. And I think silence is most intriguing. Who is not able or willing to speak for themselves and why?

It’s not really possible to clean up a mess if you don’t know why it is there or where it came from. May I be slow to fix (“I need to fix that.” – what an audacious attitude, anyway!), quick to listen and always, always ask the questions.

 

 

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Courage & Community

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I veer,

towards lists,

towards black and white.

Towards making things right.

I make a straight line,

out of natural curves,

to try,

to fly

without wings.

But life

Requires something else,

A courage,

Stepping out,

Making friends with Death.

And don’t forget

the people,

the community of things

In disarray,

that came before,

Messy,

along the way,

And still to come.

In other words

Life

in all its shades

of grey.

Courage…

and Community,

I say.

Gatekeeping or Making?

My computer sticker says

BE YOU TIFUL

I want to be.

What does that mean,

in this machine?

Mo’s story,

in the library,

laid out in my notebook –

scratched down, cobbled together,

the only way I can do it.

Why write

so much?

Why knit

so much?

 

All the talking heads,

wherever they can be found,

in every

discipline,

department,

profession,

Have the answer.

Believe,

and send funds.

 

But in making,

you craft yourself.

You dig your hand into that beautiful yarn basket.

And, you pull up a bright red Wensleydale.

You spin it.

Then, you knit it into your deep green sweater sleeve.

 

You write about the annoying mosquito,

buzzing around your head.

The one you can’t catch for anything.

The one that gets right next to your ear,

just as you are dozing off, and sends you

waving crazy around the room.

 

The self-appointed gatekeepers are confident that they know the destination. They are focused on it.

The makers want us to gain solace from accepting that we don’t.

To notice and grapple with what comes now, and now, and now.

I understand something about both opposing mindsets. I think they exist in all of us.

I’m choosing the makers now, and now, and now.

And so, I must make with the very things I want to ignore, the very things Iforestfeet wish were not there: the broken crayons, twigs, the aching knees, the wet newsprint, scraps of brown yarn. All of it.

 

This Morning

By Mary Oliver

This morning the red

birds’ eggs

have hatched and already

the chicks

are chirping for food.

They don’t

know where it’s coming

from, They

just keep shouting

“More! More!”

As to anything else, they

haven’t

had a single thought.

Their eyes

haven’t yet opened, they

know nothing

about the sky that’s wait-

ing. Or

the thousands, the mil-

lions of trees.

They don’t even know

they have wings.

And just like that, like a

simple

neighborhood event, a

miracle is

taking place.

Papers, Papers

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I love paper: scratching down words and drawings, moaning onto the page, writing my bad poetry, recording wise/interesting ideas I come across, imagining possibilities and building stories. Managing the physical space to support  all of this paper is another thing. Going through it takes a big emotional effort. But, I get round to it once or twice a year. This is one of those times.

I have a little quote collection I frequently add to. Maybe you’ll appreciate some of the good ones I found today:

Originality does not consist in saying what noone has ever said before, but in saying exactly what you think yourself. -James Fitz, James Stephen

Everything is gestation and then bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience the birth hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist’s life; in understanding as in creating.  -Rainer Maria Rilke

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.  -Anais Nin

I believe I know the only cure, which is to make one’s center of life inside oneself, not selfishly or excludingly, but with a kind of unassailable serenity – to decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone. -Edith Wharton

Sliver of Space

Just enough space to breathe a bit, to make some things and to think about the important things in life. Not someone else’s list of important, but my own. And, believing what Rumi said:

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.

I doubt I can post a photo of this work, but I’m sure I can post a link and you can see something I consider really beautiful in many ways. What do you think?

https://www.bookisland.co.uk/en/books/witchfairy