I recently began to learn tablet weaving – half for stress-relief, half simply to learn something new. In a tablet-woven band, the warp threads are strung through cards. The cards are turned or not turned, the warps rise or recede, the weft travels back and forth, and patterns emerge. Looking at a partly woven band, I understand why the weaving of a tapestry is so often used to symbolize life. The fabric is substantial, myriad in its possibilities, and the creativity of the weaver stands as the only limit to the beauty of the design.
I began this essay by searching for patterns in my life, and by then examining individual threads. I discovered my devotion to education is nearly as old as I, cultivated as it was by my parents. Despite the occasional change in career, they are in essence both educators, and by their example instilled in me a desire, both for personal development and to encourage others to do likewise. No subject was closed to me as a child, and I was provided with resources on specific topics and encyclopediae, and was exposed to the works of individual authors, from the fantasy writer and philologist J.R.R. Tolkien to Joseph Campbell, philosopher and student of mythology. From these I gleaned not only love of learning for its own sake, but fascination with art, music, language, culture, history, mythology and astronomy. Throughout my school years I participated in Gifted and Talented programs and competitions, attended various summer camps, acted in community theater, took piano, dance, art lessons and learned to sew.
The most intense, persistent experiences in my life have been those related to language. Listening to the choral works of the great composers, serving as a converstation partner to a student from China, attending a summer camp on international relations, even the time spent in high school posting messages on bulletin board systems were all grounded in an eagerness to learn and understand how people communicate with each other. My greatest yearning is to meet people where they are, seek to understand them, learn from them and simply enjoy them for who they are.
You know, I think I liked that better this morning. Now to read it in print, as it were, and compare to the original goals of the essay.
I might actually learn how to do this one day…