It has been more than two weeks since I returned from the Quaker women’s retreat I mentioned last time I wrote….yet I still think of moments of connection and beauty I experienced there. I especially think of the few hours I spent learning about Andy Goldsworthy and then entering the woods and waiting for what my hands were led to do. As I gazed around at the leafless trees and dead branches and dry leaves, I noticed a rosy and curving vine amongst all the gray. I curled this into its base and wound the end to fasten it into a circle. For the next hour, I twined each pliable vine I could find into a circle and hung each on a twig or larger vine in the little spot where I had begun…honeysuckle, smilax, grapevine…until there was a gathering of wreaths and circles and curves amongst all the straight lines of the woods. That is what my mind was full of as I worked….how challenging it was to find circles in the rather linear-looking woods. And as I found and created circles, I thought of how circles-to me-represent our feminine selves….how we approach life and honor it.
The circle of our days, and the year with all its holidays, our monthly cycles, even the tasks and chores that come around again and again and again. It can be so repetitive at times, but I am certain there is beauty in it. When our time was up and I had to stop, I didn’t feel that I had quite achieved my vision. It was a bit hard to see all the delicate circles against the busy tapestry of the winter woods. My hands were nearly frozen and full of tiny thorns but I was so exhilarated.
The next morning as we were gathered to sing, it began to snow-fast and thick. We had to curtail the rest of the morning’s activities to prepare for an early departure. But as I hurried to my room to pack, I walked past the path to the woods and thought of the snow falling there…and realized that the snow would add just what was missing to my creation. The snow’s soft and glittery white would cling to the curves and accentuate them-for a little while atleast. And I feel sure there is a lovely metaphor in there somewhere.