I even got some super 'me time' alone on the wild and wet moors, half dressed and happy I joined the ancestors. (I only had 1 set of trousers and skin dries easier than cloth, so I stashed my boot et al under a bush and walked in my raincoat and underwear!).
I was also gifted a beautiful story that I thought I would share with you. I have a passion for old quilts and cloth that has been handled and handed down and this story tied in so very nicely with the essence of my heritage apron.
The Grandmother Quilt.
“Come” called the girl with thick auburn hair, falling from her head like the red peat rivers.
“Sit” said the woman bobbing to the fire like a shimmering chestnut.
“A warm jot” said the old woman pouring liquid like malt.
I was grateful to be transported from my wet, cold tent and dry off the moors by her well-tended hearth.
“Let’s liven our bones and sit by the fire, around us we’ll draw the grandmother blanket”.
We sit close and it stretches from her knees to mine. This quilt, passed down through the hands of time. It’s faded patches. It’s bright repairs. A witness to births and deaths
As we trace the patterns and take comfort in the patches, we remember.
We remember the lives, the people and the places we know. We see our history on the surface of this cloth, but most of all we tell the story.
“Once the great grandmother laid her quilt on the surface of the land for all to see, she covered the bare surface with the ancient and the new. A honeycomb pattern to hold all life.
But what has been forgotten is that this cloth we hold in our hands is the very same cloth that covers the ground. And that this cloth is the very same as is reflected in the sky!
It is not just the grandiose landmarks and stones and circles that map the heavens it is every stone, every pebble, every mountain, every river and every stream. Everything.
All that is on the land is reflected in the sky. As if a mirror.
So it’s time to remember that as you know the land so you know the sky.
We walk this land and know it and look down to our feet but forget to raise our eyes to the heavens, forgetting that we know it already.
It is already known well to our hearts.
So as you gaze into the deep wild pool, deep into the salmons eye, actually what you are doing is looking at the stars. For as you look deep inside, really you are star gazing!………. Ahaha ahahahaaa” The russet coloured crone slaps her knee in mirth. “Only a fool doesn’t know that!” she snorts.
“Ah” she says sadly, pulling the quilt around her knees “but what those fools also don’t know is, as you mark the earth so you mark the heavens. Every hole, every building, every plant, every tree. Every scratch of the surface, deep or shallow. It is reflected in our mirror.
So as you scar the earth, so you scar the heavens.
That is why they say there are holes over the cities and no ozone. It is because the intensity of damage to the land is reflected back in equal intensity from the marks in heaven. It is too much, too strong, melting pots ready to burst. It was not meant to be this way. It was supposed to be gentle waves fluctuating in the skies around our land whilst we moved across the surface dancing with our ever-changing reflections. It’s time to remember OUR stories”.
A tear ran down her cheek, falling onto the cloth in our laps. A gentle smudge on the quilt, a new rivulet running off the hills and a new shimmer in heaven.
I have made this from hexagonal patchwork that has been beautifully hand stitched and spans centuries! There is evidence of fabric patches as early as the 1940's and I suspect, a little earlier. it has been loved and cared for, passed down through the generations and repaired through the ages.
I feel honoured to have played my part in it's life, repairing by hand some of the worn patches, replacing some with new and old cloth and then giving it it's final twist. A new lease of life by adding a few bees and new purpose.......