TWO EAGLES

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There are eagles in the sky most days. All that beauty in the air.

I pulled out my weaving: merino baby blankets, shawls, and lap-robes out of the tansu chest and stacked them up in a chair. Twenty-three—I turned the photo sideways so they would fit my screen. More than half these soft things have been woven since we began our personal lockdown on 10 March. I have a new warp on the loom now and I began weaving the second shawl yesterday just before 8pm. I mean to stop at 4, and then I go back and work some more, and then I think 7pm is a long day when I’ve been awake since before dawn. But I wanted to see how the hands-spun I have been hoarding for a few years would work on this warp, and it’s lovely, subtle and tweedy. There will be twenty-six weavings by the end of next week. And then I will start winding skeins for another warp.

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I like the bits of purple so much that for the third shawl I might weave purple weft. I might use more purple in this shawl too. Violet and green are a favorite combination. This is one thing the lockdown has done for me: I have been using my stash, handspun I have tucked away as well as emptying the bins with Koigu from Canada. The result is some wild choices that have worked well, better the more reckless I am.

Creativity is a reckless act. A subversive and dangerous choice. “Art Saves Lives” declared the bumper sticker on my old Caravan that I used to ferry students to the university library in Portland.

I bought a painting yesterday. An actual painting by a serious painter. I rationalized it because I have been saving for over a year to replace the treads on our stairs (a bigger job than it sounds), and there’s a good chance that won’t happen this year. Maybe next year? I found Jeanie Tomanek on Pinterest, tracked her with Duck-Duck-Go, found her website and read her artist’s statement, watched a video created for her current show at the gallery that represents her. I went through her work, loving them all, loving some that were already sold, and kept coming back to the same one. I walked around our house, looking for an empty wall. I dithered and hemmed and hawed, and Gary said, “You saved all that money for the stairs. Go ahead and spend it on this.” (It is fair to concede that Gary is not a hundred percent in favor of the stair project. He thinks a tsunami will get us first.)

“I love to show the strength and optimistic attributes of women. Even when they are in a quandary or in danger, I always try to show a glimmer of hope and wisdom—that they will solve the riddle and make it through, stronger and with dignity. Being bald and shorn of any particular identity, they become all women.”—Jeanie Tomanek

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These are juvenile bald eagles, likely offspring of the successful pair that nest half a mile south of our home.

It is a reckless time to be playing safe about art, a bargain that life is worth preserving, that life matters more than money. How is that not an obvious choice? Life.

So I weave against the day I will be able to share my work with other people. I buy art on the assumption that when it arrives from Georgia, we will have time to hang it and enjoy it. (And the tsunami will not come.)

For two months we have traveled only to drop off recycling, to buy food, to pick up our mail, for over two months. (In fact, we have lived the way my grandmother did in this house when she came in the 1920s after Memorial Day and did not leave until after Labor Day because there was no road to this place. Her husband’s aunts had chosen this beach to built a summer cabin specifically because it was so difficult to get here.)

The day before yesterday we had to drive eighty miles so that I could have a root canal. Our stimulus check paid for that hour and a half in the chair. And that was another reason to buy art. And because it is beautiful and because I loved the video at her gallery, and because I have been to Georgia three times and probably never will do there again, and because the artist was born the same year as my husband. And because ART!

Also, because more than a decade after my MFA I am writing nonfiction and odd stories about owls and butterflies. And because I feel a creative connection. And because this artist so often paints wings and flying things.

Eagles landed on the sand while I was talking to my older son this morning, and then a visiting dog spooked them back into the air. Juveniles land and stand around, sometimes for as long as an hour before flying off again. I like to think they have had little practice taking off from the ground, their tails are wet with salt water, and they are like:

What the heck?

I don’t know, this wetness is repulsive.

Fly away.

No, you first.

The drab juvenile feathers molt, and their heads and tails will become white. It is the female eagles that are larger. My granddaughter has heart surgery this morning. It is happening now. Only her mother is allowed into the hospital which had it’s first suspected case of covid-19 just this week. Our son will sit in his car all day, worried for his little girl.

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We are all waiting, all worried, and we are all choosing life over death or money. We are all choosing art over death. We are choosing the open sky and the ones we love. We choose eagles in flight and beauty. We choose the garden and the fresh bread we didn’t take time to bake before. We choose to call the people we love, people we might not have have seen, but now it matters that they are far away and we cannot see them. We choose to tell them we love them. We email and FaceTime and talk on the phone. We tell them we love them, because we are able to say it out loud and because it is true.

13 thoughts on “TWO EAGLES

  1. At first, I was going to ask if I could buy one of these gorgeous woven items, and then, I ended worrying over your granddaughter. Heart surgery. Too much. My deepest hopes of quick recovery for the poor dear.

    If you are interested in selling and shipping some of your beautiful cloth, I’d like to know what a lap robe is… Email me, Jan.

    Thea

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had not meant to mention it here, but my blog is like a diary. Almost no filter. I will post as soon as we hear how she’s doing.

      In truth, the weavings are about 25″ wide and 50-80″ long, mostly merino wool with some silk yarn, all hand-dyed and some yarn is handspun too. How they are used—as scarf, shawl, baby blanket, afghan or lap robe (same thing?)—is up to the owner. Temple Grandin put hers on the back of her couch. Molly Gloss wears hers as a scarf. Ruth Gundle and Judith Barrington have shawls. I have seen a few into ruanas. I have a long “shawl,” a shorter “scarf,” and a ruana. My grandchildren received them as babies and they are probably in the bottom of their closets—ha! I suspect one is used as a cat bed in Washington. I was to have an exhibit in a small gallery in December, which I am not convinced will happen. But I can’t stop weaving.

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  2. Pingback: TWO EAGLES – stopthefud – Chambana Connected

  3. What a stack of treasures, your wovens! That is quite a accomplishment. I am thinking good thoughts for your granddaughter’s surgery. I was wondering the other day it was going to happen soon. Much love ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Each one surprises me as I work with the colors under my hands. They are so much richer in person.

      I should have stacked them in some sort of order. I just pulled them from drawers to count them and then took the photo before packing them away again.

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