...To the sensing body all phenomena are animate, actively soliciting the participation of our senses, or else withdrawing from our focus and repelling our involvement. Things disclose themselves to our immediate perception ... as styles of unfolding—not as finished chunks of matter given once and for all, but as dynamic ways of engaging the senses and modulating the body. Each thing, each phenomenon, has the power to reach us and influence us.....
- David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous
|A rare find|
|Good, old-fashioned clothespin|
An old quilted jacket tempted me. It wasn’t beautiful, in any stylish, modern sense, and it was sadly frayed, not only at the ends of the sleeves but pretty much all over. One would never dare put it in a washing machine (and it looked like it could use a washing, too).
|Old handmade quilted jacket|
“Oh, it’s just silly,” I said with a reluctant sigh, trying to be sensible. “It’s practically falling apart.” I held it up more closely, feeling, being drawn by and trying to resist its silent Take-me-home plea. “But look at these little stitches! It’s all hand-stitched! Someone’s grandma made it, you just know.”
I thought of my own grandmother and remembered sitting in the backyard with her on the glider, pushing the long green metal seat back and forth with our feet on the ground while we used our hands to string beans. (Yes, Virginia, beans came with pretty tough strings in those days.) But my grandmother has been gone for well over 30 years, the old house gone long before that....
It was silly! Sensibly, I put the jacket back on the rack. Found an attractive ivory pullover. Much more reasonable--something I could actually wear in public!
Waiting for me out in the car, David asked, “You didn’t get it? Why not?” “Oh, it was just silly.” “You should get it if you want it.” “It was all hand-stitched!” I said again, as if arguing with myself. That was what kept coming back to me, that vision of patient, gnarled fingers taking stitch after tiny stitch, and then the old woman wearing the jacket for years and years. It had spoken to me. It wanted to go home with me. It needed a new home with someone who would see it for what it was.
Yes, of course! Can you doubt for a minute? (If you recognized the yellow chair already, you knew the end of the story right from the beginning.) “After all,” I told David, finding a way at last to rationalize the impulsive, emotional purchase, “it goes with the clothespins.”