Eighth Day

by Guest Blogger February 09, 2013

by Richard Cummings

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. 




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