The importance of Skill... knowing what you're doing instinctively and nailing it in a critical moment

I suppose we all have moments that we wish hadn't happened. We wish we had taken a different turn or decided to do something else that day. A Friday a few weeks ago was one of those days for me. It was, all in all, a brilliant afternoon. Beautiful fall weather, a nice hike in the high country, a drive through the Colorado mountains to a weekend family retreat. But then that one thing happened. We came around a corner on a two-lane mountain highway and saw a couple cars pulled haphazardly to the shoulder, several people running fast toward a person lying face down at the edge of the road, an SUV on the shoulder, and a motorcycle in the ditch... debris spread for a 100 yards along the road.

First on the scene of an accident is not on the list of happy events in any day, especially when you have medical training and know you can't just drive by and feel okay about it. That moment when I was running toward the guy on the shoulder and 5 people stood over him asking who had medical training and I heard that there were two paramedics and an RN there, I was very very thankful. I would have done my best, but in this situation, paramedic and RN trump OT every single day of the week.

Skill is something that takes a long time to acquire. The off-duty medical personnel at the accident had tremendous skill. It isn't just knowing what to do, it is having the experience to be able to do it. This also true in tapestry weaving. Creation of a tapestry involves a learned knowing in the muscles of your body. That doesn't come just through intellectual understanding. It comes through years of manipulating warp and weft and through the doing of it, gaining understanding about the material, the color, and the form.

My tapestry students frequently are people who want things to be correct. I find that many weavers are like this. They want order and they want it to happen quickly. I struggle with communicating to them how long it takes to learn the nuance. It takes repetition over years and years to make the skill flow from your fingers and perhaps even bypass your brain. This is important and the only way to get to it is practice.

Sam's injuries were extensive. I don't think any of us who have medical training and faced each other over his body in that first moment thought he had a chance of leaving that road alive. He was pronounced at the scene. He was 50. That RN in her purple print scrub top and white white pants had skill. She was a bad-ass who called the shots and did everything exactly right. Those pants were so white even while everything else was covered in blood.