Today, my longings are nameless, inchoate, fuzzy, and formless, but pulling me like the tidal wash, never the less. I seek the comfort of the familiar, so here I sit in my favourite nineteen forties library chair, once again, my imaginary friend, sipping a cup of Kick Ass coffee. My thoughts are of Arachne, who was once a beautiful young woman extraordinarily skilled at weaving, according to Greek mythology. She angered the goddess Athene, who transformed her into a spider to weave for all eternity. “Her story of weaving, creating, holding and enclosing can be found in mythologies of peoples all over the world. Thus she is a symbol of our connectedness, the strands of her web transferring the slightest vibrations between us all, a constant reminder that everything we do affects others.” ( Kozocari, Owens, North: The Witch’s Book Of Days, Beach Holme Press, 1994)
I had planned here to write of kindness, but the image of Arachne’s web will not leave me. Though much has been said and written of kindness lately – random acts of kindness, small acts of kindness, kindness as a means of transforming our world. – it seems to me that what is really being written about are the tremors and vibrations of Arachne’s web, the web that connects us all. I think of something very particular: something I intended as the highest compliment was heard by the recipient as something else entirely, and I caused distress. The pain has radiated back to me: me, who would not harm a fly! For it causes me true and immense pain to be the unwitting and unintended bearer of a hurtful message.
I believe is true that kindness must be a basic building block of our characters, but it seems we must strive for more than kindness. Perhaps a little more sensitivity, for an understanding that where we place our feet heavily may cause vibrations, and might even damage the web. I speak not here of the savage stroke that attempts to obliterate the work of a gifted weaving, but the simple clumsiness that interrupts the warp and weft…
Weaving seems an apt metaphor for how we create friendships, love, community, for both the warp and the weft contribute in equal measure to the fineness and the firmness of the cloth. I suspect, my imaginary friend, that there is a tiny jig in our tapestry, though I hope not a giant rent. I shall strive with all of my skill to continue the weaving of this beautiful cloth, and to repair and make whole the web. I can do no more, save look at my mistake and reflect upon its importance…May the cloth be made stronger for my willingness to see the flaw.
View more of Sarah Beth Goncarova’s art here.