I wove a pair of tapestries several years ago now which I liked a great deal. They were inspired by a moment hiking in the Austrian Alps with some good friends (how often do you get to say "hiking in the Austrian alps"?). I was looking through the wide slats of a cow barn and watching the sunshine stream in through the openings on the other side. The patterns of flecks of light reminded me of shifting flames and suddenly I was thinking about fire.
I have experienced living close to several very large fires in New Mexico and Colorado. Once when I lived in El Rito, half the town was evacuated as I watched the fire come over the ridge about a mile from my home. They were able to control it before I had to leave, but that moment of, "what besides the dog do I take" is a powerful one. Sometimes the answer is, just the dog.
Other fires have not been as close, but the choking smoke has influenced every aspect of my day and the impact on communities can be extreme.
I wove these two pieces titled after the Japanese haiku by Mizuta Masahide (1657-1723):
Barn's burnt down--
I can see the moon.
Translations are varied, but I believe the poem speaks to seeing the truth when the details are no longer important.
The first tapestry was juried into the Firestorm show which was about the large and devastating 2012 fire outside Colorado Springs, CO. That piece was purchased at the show.
The second tapestry has hung in my studio for about four years now. One of the participants at the July Colorado retreat was a nurse anesthetist for a long time and more recently has become interested in hospice. I did not know this, but many hospice agencies use this poem as a core illustration in their philosophy. It makes sense. If you are dying (and you know it), the things that become important must narrow drastically.
Susan purchased the second tapestry and I couldn't be happier to have it live with someone who is doing this good work.
I may have to revisit this subject again and weave another piece to hang in this one's spot in my studio. Life is short and we must make sure to spend our moments well.