To think of ancient lacework is also to think of non-literate transmissions of patterns, memorised, passed from one woman to another. Some patterns more complex than others.
Complexity is not
necessarily related to education, but seems more connected to spirit.
For I know plenty of highly-educated people (doctors who cite Cicero and
travel to Abu Simbel, for example). But they may not live according to the children's book adage: One sees clearly only with the heart: what is essential is invisible to the eye.
my supposed worldliness and even the fact that I accepted that adage as
a truth from a very early age, I still have problems putting it into
practice. One can stand, miffed, in the face of one's life and ask: I
got here?! And yet, as a friend said so wisely last night as we
sat beneath an ancient oak in the night breeze, the morning is wiser
than the evening (it's a Russian proverb) - meaning, when one feels the
storm of emotion, it is best to let it blow over, and not answer any
questions at such times. Because later, when it has passed, one sees
things so much clearer.
My friend is very wise. She said that
sometimes people ask us questions not because they want answers, but
because they want to provoke us. The more earnest the person, the more
they are targets for provocateurs. This is where the wisdom of the
morning comes in: there is an art in not responding immediately to what
is presented as being urgent. The trick is to wait. And then, if one has
dodged the trap, one doesn't have to worry about the ugly resulting
inner monologue (she said, he said, why?!).
If we can wait those
ugly situations out - not engaging with them, we have a chance to
increase our love for the beautiful part of life, and grow there, in
that beauty. If the world looks at what we love with a disparaging eye,
it is a test, probing what kind of vision we are developing. How much do
we want that hidden treasure? Or, are we content to say, "There's
nothing there," and move on without a struggle? The hidden treasure can
only be found by he who has patience, and is calm.
worldly, patterns speak with a very rational shallowness. The even older
pattern allows logic to develop within a space of where we find
ourselves to be happiest. It is a struggle to get there, to maintain
that space, to find harmony between heart and mind.
As I asked myself yesterday why there was such a gap
between what feels right and how it looks, I was finishing up this
"lacey grocery bag" from a Purl Bee tutorial.
It was reassuring to know that on some level, no matter how much of a
maverick we may take ourselves to be, we are still following ancient
patterns or paths (paths or patterns of essence: of good will
versus provocation; of the heart versus material gain; etc). Some paths may
look the same, but diverge: some paths may look opposite, but lead to
the same place.
It is hard when we do not know where we are going
in concrete terms (there is no, "I shall buy that seaside house, darn
it"). This learning requires a different set of coordinates. Where this
learning is in books, it is often necessary to discern the essence
behind the words. The phrase "one sees clearly only with the heart"
requires such engagement.