I've had this image in my mind since our last trip to Canmore in April. We walk this trail each time we go there, and we always enjoy watching the water trickle past, ducks nesting or snoozing on the sunshine by the boardwalk. I find the whole path striking: a zig-zagging path, perfectly built in the midst of nature.
This time, I wondered if it was possible to convey this image in my fibre work. So often, I obsess over the mechanics of what I'm doing, watching the pattern, counting the stitches, measuring, calculating. I feel like I'm the person who is making the proverbial order out of chaos.
But this image tells me that it order and chaos can be harmonious.
I haven't yet figured out what I will do with this picture in my head, or how it will play out in my needles or hooks, but this pattern is attracting me:
I'm thinking I can work with something like that... take it and improvise somehow...
I think what also draws me to this image is the fact that the path is moving in all different directions, but it somehow belongs in the middle of the trees, the water, the sky, the mountains... Some must wonder, "Why such a crooked path? Why not build from point A to point B?" (I call those people "closet Romans.")
I've recently come to the realization that this path is somewhat metaphorical to my life (don't roll your eyes... hear me out on this one). I've taken a lot of directions with my life, done a lot of things, lived a lot of places, and made lots of awkward decisions with my career. I've been fretting a lot about how I really ought to stop doing that, to stop looking over the fence at what's happening elsewhere, to stop looking for interesting things to do with my life. Settle down. Stabilize. I worry that the multitude of positions I've held in the past will reveal a person who is erratic, unwilling to commit.
I think now that, while I'm happy to stay put, I'm proud of the zig-zagging path my life has taken. And I have a feeling that it's not going to straighten out anytime soon.
In his book, The Power of Purpose, Richard Leider suggests that we should stop thinking about life as a series of stages or phases, but rather as a series of improvisations. What will I do now with this life that is in front of me with the things that I now know?
I wonder to myself what would happen if we could present this idea to youth who are growing up in a world that tells them to take the path straight to college, the career, and the retirement. That life is not linear: it is organic, and will take you in different directions. All you can do is be ok with that, and be ready to adapt and change. Survival of the fittest and all that.
I think that, if and when I make this wrap, I might call it "Survival Lace" or "Adaptations in Nature" or "Zig While Everyone Else Zags..." A metaphor for being alright with a crooked path in the midst of a beautiful world.
It's not easy taking the crooked path, but what an interesting walk, huh?