Eighth Day

Eighth Day

Three strands of scarlet wool.

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight…nine…ten.
My left hand slides down three strands of scarlet wool…tangle.

Wool is natural, fragile. The strands break as the gnarled scarlet is unwound.
Try again.

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight…nine.
My left hand slides down three strands of scarlet wool…another tangle.

Wool is natural, fragile, but the strands hold.
They will let me try again.

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight.
My left hand slides down three strands of scarlet wool. They separate, and my hand passes.

The wool is natural, soft against my skin. The red of its scarlet strands seems significant, holy? I apprehend the color and note its appropriateness for my task.

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight.

The feel of the wool on my hands as I braid is a peaceful mystery. Am I caressing, or am I being caressed? Who is master? Who is yielding? We are not too dissimilar, these three strands of scarlet wool and I — atoms, molecules, created stuff. But, I need these three strands to be shaped; I need these three strands of scarlet wool to be shaped into other than they are.

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight.

Again.

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight.

Repeat.

How long have I been? Time seems irrelevant as my breathing, my hands, and the three strands of scarlet wool commune in a reverie of movement and color. My mind succumbs to the rhythmic task of three and eight. Man and material converse through touch, a dialogue of shaping and yielding. I know what I want. Three stands of scarlet wool speak to me — their nature, their boundaries.

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight.

There is more here than three strands of scarlet wool. There is more here than I. The space feels thin as my work becomes a prayer of three and eight. Three strands are one, dancing in their entwined unity. My hands join the dance and are welcome. We shape the dance together. I feel the three, and they feel me.

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight.

Why eight? Why not ten?
The strands reply by their yielding. Eight it is. It happens at eight and not at nine. It happens at eight and not at ten or beyond. The strands reply in an ancient tongue; a language older than language but somehow new and never spoken. Can it be spoken, or written?

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight.

Our dance continues as long as I abide in its indwelling. As strand crosses strand I think about shaping and forming. I think (or is the dance telling me?) about sacred time, the passing of the hours, the years, the aeons. Time is not mine, yet I am here. I was then. I am now, living…in the eighth day.

Under, over; one.
Under, over; two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight.

Three strands of scarlet wool.

Richard Cummings
about Richard Cummings

Richard Cummings first became associated with Ruminate when his assemblage work appeared in Issue 19: Sustaining in March of 2011. He is easily distracted and enjoys sparkly things, things that move, and things with sugar. Still, Mr. Cummings finds time to write about art and time to be a professional artist, designer, and educator. He is an associate professor of art at College of the Ozarks and is also the director of the college's Boger Gallery.

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  1. Terry Fillow
    February 21, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Love it!

    • Richard Cummings
      Richard
      February 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks Terry!
      The premise for the post was, I was creating a hand-woven page marker for a prayer book I had compiled for this upcoming Eastertide. The images and thoughts had come back to me repeatedly over the last several months. I am grateful to Ruminate for providing a vehicle for their expression.

      Blessings!

      —RWC

  2. Michelle Weisman
    March 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Richard,
    What a lovely little “rumination”! I especially appreciate the connectivity you describe in both the relationship between you and the object (the strands of yarn) and between you and the process (the “dance” you engage in together). It’s a lovely and thoughtful illustration of how all things are “created stuff” and yet are ever changing, ever recreated, via the “dances” that occur when we collide together. Simple, yet so gorgeous an observation. Kuddos for articulating the thought so well! Of course, I’d expect no less from an artist… :)

    Michelle W.

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