For Barry Schacht and Jane Patrick, on the 50th Anniversary of Schacht Spindle Company
It was 1969, and I was yearning to weave. I don’t know why.
My fractured life—mother of two, student, teacher, wife, neurotic—
I just wanted to weave. Thinking that would somehow make things whole.
So I bought a little loom. A little plastic loom that wove a little square.
And I wove square after square after square from dime store yarn, hoping that would
Make things whole.
I found my way to a funky shop in Boulder and it looked like heaven.
You know that look.
Amid the clutter and joy, a loom hung on the wall.
A simple frame, some heddle rods, the promise of cloth.
Cloth, as it came to pass, with odd gaps and sags and hourglass shape
And nothing like what my mind was yearning for.
For that, I needed a different loom, more loom,
With lifts and pedals and cranks and levers and cords.
Which, soon enough, that little shop in Boulder, grown big, was able to provide.
I could have just stuck to weaving cloth,
Warp after warp,
Yard after yard.
It could have been a good life.
But something still was missing.
The famous Zen koan says, What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Well, what is the sound of one loom thrumming and beating in solitude?
If one lone voice in the forest sings of weaving and there is no one to hear,
Is there any song?
Making things whole takes more than thread
More than looms, more than warp and weft.
It’s those who make the looms, who make the cloth,
Who sing the songs together
Who weave their lives together,
Who make things whole.