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I want to wrap yarn around a tree

April 13, 2010

There was something about this woman that captivated me. Just outside the Chicago Institute of Art, she was spending her afternoon wrapping yarn around a tree. Installation art, I suppose she’d call it. For no other reason than that it looks pretty and engages the eye. Or perhaps it’s a form of meditation, those steps round and round a tree. Whatever her motivation, it holds meaning for her.

Much has happened since that moment when I stood there with my camera. The world has shaken; deep emotions have been felt; many tears have been shed; guilt, anger, and fear have all been wrestled with; and seemingly insurmountable boulders have been thrown into the paths of myself and the people I love most in the world. The world looks darker and colder than it did that lovely afternoon when I wandered around Chicago in the sunshine.

And yet I find myself glancing at this photo, and something stops me. Partly, it’s a longing to be her – that carefree woman spending hours wrapping yarn around a tree. I don’t know her stories – perhaps they’re even more insurmountable than mine – and yet when I look at the photo, my mind molds her into the ideal story I long to embrace. A whimsical, carefree woman interacting with art and creation, with no other reason (no guilt hanging over her head, no fears, no obligations) to be any place than where she is, wandering around a tree.

But beyond just coveting her carefree-ness, the picture holds a reminder that I need to look for my own way to wrap yarn around a tree – be it literal or metaphorical. I need to find colour, to make art, to touch nature, to meditate, to seek the presence of the Spirit, and to wander until my heart finds peace. In the wise words of Ann Lamott, “… the good news is that creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.”

Starting with this post and the quiet moments it took to create it, I promise myself I will at least try. Because even if I can’t fix things for the people I care about, I can at least seek healing for the deep wounds and disappointments in my own soul.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2010 4:06 pm

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself today and taking time to write what is in your heart.

    I want to wrap yarn around a tree, too.

  2. April 13, 2010 8:05 pm

    She was spinning a bigger yarn than she thought. You picked it up and bloggers have seen it and reflected.

  3. April 14, 2010 7:52 am

    Heather: This is the stuff of life, isn’t it? The darkness and pain intermingled with the light and beauty? Ambivalence at its finest.

    What I find most profound is that you can name both simultaneously vs. demanding only one or the other to be true, real, present. Again, ambivalence at its finest. Again, the stuff of life.

    I’m SO with you.

    I wrote a post the other day that mentioned yarn around women’s wrists. Much different context, but I’m now wondering about their juxtaposition. Much winding we all do. And binding that we know, as well. To name such together? It makes all the difference.

  4. April 14, 2010 7:55 am

    Lovely read this morning, those moments of peace and awe should become hours then days in time!

  5. April 14, 2010 9:41 am

    I look at the woman wrapping that yard around that wounded tree (it seems to have that tape stuff on it that they use on a cut tree) and I think about how compassion of that sort, an appreciation of beauty like that, comes from a person who has experienced profound pain in her life.

    Profound pain that she has chosen to react to with grace and love and art.

    See…we all tell stories. 🙂

    But rather than think of her as care-free, perhaps she can be made into more of a guru for us — a woman who has many cares but remains free.

    • April 14, 2010 12:02 pm

      I like that last sentence. I had created this perfect, elegant, gorgeous free spirit with oodles of free time, plenty of disposable cash, and no obligations to anyone but herself.

      But the truth is, while a picture can be worth a thousand words, it can leave as many left unsaid.

      I’m going to take that last sentence and run with it, not because misery loves company, but because I want to be a woman with cares who remains free.

      Thanks to both of you — Heather and Christine — for giving me food for thought today.

  6. April 14, 2010 3:27 pm

    yes, thank you. that’s all we can do really, isn’t it? be present to what’s true for us and allow that presence to shift something in its own time. blessings, katy

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