Throwing it to the Tiles

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Saturday night was the equinox in the southern hemisphere.  The true arrival of autumn, the time when day and night are equally balanced.  I love the turn of the seasons, the division into four parts (or 94 if you live in Melbourne), all different tastes and colours.

Even the depths of winter I am beginning to appreciate more and more.  The deep waiting (and sometimes weight) of the darker months where things die down to reseed again in the spring.  As I get older and get rocked by just how deep and rich the inner space goes, so I am finally becoming friends with the time of year where everything seemingly dies and retreats.

If a Japanese Maple goes through an "eternal summer" period where rather than the variances in seasonal light it is provided with a supermarket-style ongoing continuous source of light, the tree will grow continuously for up to two years.  But eventually the growth period will stop, and the dormancy phase will kick in regardless of whether the extra light continues or not.  The tree must sleep.  And the result of its eternal summer and automatic dormancy is stressful enough to kill it.  Everything needs dying down.


The tip pile and the Freecycle pile are growing in preparation for me moving.  They both each contain a craft project I began back in 1994.

In the tip pile:  a half-completed jumper.  Seventeen years later it's a size too small and a style too gooberly for me to now want to wear.  Impressed, however, at my knitting style.  I think that's the last thing I ever knitted, and the thing's got bobbles and different patterns and patterned edging and all sorts of stuff.

Less impressed at my sloppiness.  One ball of wool has red dye spilled all over it.  The other pieces I've already knitted, the front and the sleeves, all have stains on them from my sticky fingers and my childish inability to wash my hands after sticking it in the honey jar and before picking up the needles to knit once more.  Hence, the tip.  Otherwise, it could have gone in the Freecycle pile with the next item.

In the Freecycle pile:  a 90% sewn cotton dress.  Also one size too small but fitting, nevertheless, much better around the boobies area than anything I try on in the stores that is made for a one-size-fits-all-apparently-12B sort of chestline.  This boobie problem is what motivated me to want to start sewing in the first place.

The dress is the first - and last - thing I've ever sewed on a sewing machine.  Again, I'm impressed with what I managed to achieve having no prior experience.  The dress is sleeveless, with a tie at the waist, and flares out a little in a couple of gentle pleats at the bottom.  It's even got darts and a well-placed zipper.   All that remains for it to be finished are the facings - I had forgotten that term, facings - for the neck yoke and for the armholes.

It seems strange that I did so much of it and then stopped.  Why would you 90% finish a project?  Casting my hooded retarded fish memory back to the marijuana-smelling annals of 1994 and I vaguely remember an old, enormously cumbersome sewing machine that I'd picked up from somewhere.  I also seem to remember that sewing machine giving up the ghost at the same time and as these things happen, I never got around to getting another one, and nor did I finish off the pattern.


It feels enormously liberating to be finally getting rid of these two items.  It reminds me of a story I first came across in Women Who Run With the Wolves called "The Three Gold Hairs".  The story is about an old, old man, creaking through the dark forest, beset by tree limbs, on his last legs, with his "long yellow hair, cracked yellow teeth, and curved yellow fingernails" with his "back rounded like a bag of flour.".

The old man comes upon a lighted cottage in the middle of the forest.  The old man is so exhausted.  The light in his lantern dies and he falls through the door and collapses.  Inside an old woman is in front of a roaring fire.  She takes the old man in her arms and rocks him in her rocking chair, saying, "There, there.  There, there.  There, there."

The old woman rocks the man all through the night and by the middle of the night he has grown into a strong young man.  And she rocks him.  "There, there.  There, there."  And as dawn comes the young man has become a small, beautiful child.

Just at the moment of dawn, the old woman plucked three hairs very quickly from the child's beautiful head and threw them to the tiles.  They sound like this:  Tiiiiiiing!  Tiiiiiiing!  Tiiiiiiing!   And the little child in her arms crawled down from her lap and ran to the door.  Looking back at the old woman for a moment, he gave her a dazzling smile, then turned and flew up into the sky to become the brilliant morning sun.
Take three hairs out of your endeavor and throw them to the ground.  There they become like a wake-up call.  Throwing them down makes a psychic noise, a chime, a resonance in the woman's spirit that causes activity to occur again.  The sound of some of one's many ideas falling away becomes like an announcement of a new era or a new opportunity.


  1. so some UFO's (unfinished objects) made it into your declutter piles
    is that the liberating ring i hear of tiiing tiiing tiiing !?!

  2. Beautiful! If I had a dime for every unfinished project (or unfinished book I half-read, for that matter)....

    I'm glad for this time of sorting and shedding for you. Embrace all the freedom in it, and enjoy your "moving on".

  3. Kel - it is so liberating, that tiiing tiiing tiiing. Like gold falling all over the floor.

    Erin - it is a real freedom, absolutely, to throw all this stuff away. It amazes me, truly roolly, how little we need. And how beautiful it becomes.

  4. The "Three Gold Hairs" story speaks to me in several ways at a very deep level right now; thank you, thank you for pointing me to this.


Newer Older