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Friday, February 7, 2014

The Weaver. By John von Daler

                        Nothing ever begins at the beginning. From the free fall of our lives we see passing phenomena fly by with such speed that we must invent artificial stops and starts to make sense of even the smallest part. In the eternal sky of our history we maneuver our flying carpets in patterns of our own making, based on our untethered logic, fastened only precariously to the edges of our minds.

                Then it is such a comfort when the doorbell rings and I answer and the old man, spewing greetings and oaths of pleasantry, climbs our stairway slowly, his faithful white worksman's hat askew, his shirt neatly ironed by his own shaking hands, his pants baggy but clean.
                He invades and captures our apartment with just one friendly holler of welcome. We guide him to his seat and give him a glass of wine. Soon he is munching fish eggs, drinking the Sancerre and shouting questions, as if our answers mattered a great deal. And they do, because they are the fixture to which he ties his carpet, this storyteller, yelling, yes, yes, I've got another angle on that same thing, yes, yes, I've had the same feeling.
                It's then that you are able for a moment to see the uneven edges; the yarn starts somewhere out in space even if it later will be woven into a tale or two or four. It hangs there in uneven strands until the old man's voice starts to weave in mid air and there you are standing on the carpet while he weaves, "It was a sunny day. I had walked almost twenty kilometers and now had become tired, so I found a grass-covered hill away from the road and sat under a tree to eat my cheese sandwich and drink my wine. Just as I had put down my goatskin I heard the sound of heavy wheels on the gravel and from behind a hedge by the road a huge wagon covered with too many people, all of whom were dressed in the working clothes of the peasants of this district of Bohemia..."
                You settle back on the carpet that so quickly has been woven broadly enough to bear your weight. You no longer look at the scraggly edges, but only at the patterns in the middle: the endless re-use of the colors and textures the old man brought with him tie them together before your eyes. Then the carpet whisks you off again on that ever more meaningful flight.


                My book, Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude (WiDo Publishing) is now available. Order through, the publisher or your local bookstore. Click to buy Pieces at the top of the blog. Please feel free to write a short review of the book in your own language at or GoodReads. Thanks for your support!

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