Perspectives from the Himalaya

Weaving Threads and Dusting the Cobwebs

Restrained by the relentless monsoon rain whilst the dung beetles roll in glee, I settled on the balcony, watching the vastness of life before me. The black birds frolicking in the dew of the trees, acquiring scruffy crests drenched in mischief. A spider floats into eye view hanging playfully on her thread from the edge of the ceiling, in search of a meal. She spots a frame from which to weave her magic on the railings of the balcony. With delicate deftness and resilience, soft to the winds but robust in its nature of a trap, she starts her day.

At first sight, she gives an immediate impression of wonder. Her work, a delirious art and a piece of incredible engineering, and a little madness in her ambition of orb webbing amidst the harshness of the external elements. But she knows. And she waits. For the gentle breeze. At the right moment, she sprays a strand of silk thread spanning from a post to another post, letting the breeze flirt away with her thread to complete her initial task. Once the thread sticks on the other side, she reels in and tightens the first thread. She crawls along it and strengthens it with a second thread. And another.

The imagery of her hanging mid-air onto that silky thread amidst the misty backdrop had somehow brought on memories of childhood. Weaving time back to the years of innocence, shyness and youthful impishness. I recalled shades of sweetness and bitterness whilst attempting to shed layers of cobwebs that had built around the bank of memory, in search for familiarity.

The image surfaced was that of a young spirited child swinging on a wooden plank. She was swinging with a playful determination, aiming to reach for the clouds with her toe. And to fly with the sparrow. For her, it was a magical swing that had no limits to its length in rope. In tandem with the wind and the brown feathered companion, they soared beyond the earthly bound, lost in time.

Then, there was the sight of levitation! Water vapours floating, so ever lightly from the moist ground, magnetised by the pull of the stark blue sky. Softer than the softest drizzle, almost insignificant to the touch. Specks of water and gaseous particles rising against gravity sparked a wondrous awakening. The senses were heightened. The smell of grass, the sound of leaves, the sight of transient molecules. It touched and captivated the insides and tickled every cell in the body.

Memory is a strange thing. The fullness of experience, of aliveness and absolute engagement finds its threads engraved strikingly in the memory bank, so vivid and stark. Whilst the other threads float astray having lost its meaning. Some long to be forgotten, blurring in between the lines of truth and untruth, some disintegrate into fragments of distortion. And some never to be found. Fingering through the dust, there is a string of dreams that often become projectors of fear. The projection manifests in blood-sucking vampires and death-eaters, expectations and failures, and all manners of the unknown. Those that stalk the darkest nights and those that live under the beds of the young. The anxieties, many lingering and some unanswered, plays itself in a twisted theatrical performance deep in the subconscious. Trying to make sense, but sense it makes not.

Like the man who lives in aloneness, the distance of family is short yet often, a great melancholy descends over him. Gripped with the past that is tight and tormenting, memories of his thread stretches into a knotted hold, into a labyrinth of complex relationships. It tears the present with untold scars. The grip hardens his frame with time, refusing to give way. Hunched over his heartache, he awaits for his numbered days.

As time passes, the orb weaver continues to pattern her shimmering lace of survival. The first three radials are now constructed. More radials are weaved ensuring smaller distances between each radial for ease of crawling. After the radials are complete, she fortifies the center of the web with circular threads. She works from the inside forming well spaced spirals. As the wind blows, the threads bend and curl with little resistance, becoming a part of the flow. Its flexibility and tensile strength demonstrating an incredible feat. Upon completion, she sits and waits for her meal.

Meanwhile, the black birds peck furiously at the seeds that was sow on the earth by the industrious farmer the day before. He shoos them. They take flight, momentarily, watching and waiting for him to walk away. The flock appears and reappears, devouring the rest of the seeds.

An eagle soars low with his strong willful wings stretched out wide, his piercing eyes locked onto the movement of the newborn chicks on the ground. He hovers in circles, gracefully and effortlessly with the gentleness of the breeze. The chicks on the ground are oblivious to the eminent danger. He awaits for an opportunity to strike. But the farmer’s children sense his presence and places the chicks back in shelter.

A mother cow in the shed had just lost her young calf to the hunger of man, her sorrowful eyes yearn to tell the story of grief and loss. She pleads and swells in helplessness with a forlorn longing. Her milky nourishment robbed and displaced into other younglings.

Many terraces away, a lady stood in stillness. There was placidness worn on her expression. She strolled quietly in the soft contours of her land where she had lived most of her life. There was an aura of solitude as she attended to her crops. Not of loneliness or emptiness, but of an abundant allure to give life. She spoke and sang to them with tenderness. Her caresses and whispers were of a motherly kind. There was a beautiful unspoken language that drifted between her and the land for they understood each other. In these moments, serenity graced her steps wherever she went.

Having lived a full fledge life, she carries a sad story too. At times, the stormy thread of the past rolls in. The piercing silence and the empty glares strikes. The hurt that struck, had once consumed her and shook her to the core. It weighed her spirit and anchored it down. Time almost stood still. But seasons passed. She buried the past. She was not to be defeated. She saw life. She was a life-giver. She heard the laughter again. She smelt the petals. She felt the vibrations of the earth. She arose. As the rose blossomed. As the eagle soars. And she moved on. Setting a new trail. For there is still much to do.

And for that, that which is still waiting to be carved, is sweeter than the sweetest nectar.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Thank you Radhika for your kind words of encouragement. It has been a long hiatus since I last wrote. With a drastic change in the way we live, we have come to a quieter place but it is truly bursting with life. Suddenly it feels like the world has open up in a literary sense!

  2. Like the spider that weaves its web with finesse , you weave magic with your words Ling (sorry if I am wrong with your name, please correct me. 🙂 ). I was witness to the beautiful imagery your words unfolded, from the balcony seat :). Keep writing my friend. Would love to join you on a peek into life on your side of the world.

  3. Thank you for the encouragement Radhika!

  4. You definitely have a way with words! I can actually see that spider ‘weaving it’s magic’ and the little girl swinging on the wooden plank!

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