The other day, these words popped into my head while I was untangling garden twine. I grabbed a pen and the nearest seed packet to scratch out the words in case I forgot them.
*I want my kite strings tangled in your tree.
I’d read this phrase somewhere and the words wove their way into my brain and lived there until I found something to do with them. Strings? Threads? Yarn? What could it mean?
Grandma taught me to crochet when I was about seven years old. My job was to unravel the skein of yarn and roll it into a ball while she followed the pattern, performed magic with the thread, and created works of art. I watched her swift movements with the needles and envied her experienced hands. Over and under and through and around. Intricate webs of looped connections that produced yards of exquisite lace.
When she was tired of crocheting, she’d move to a more tedious craft called tatting. She maneuvered thin thread over and under and through and around that resulted in tight knots, repeating patterns, and minuscule details. With crochet, it was easy to undo mistakes in the previous stitches – unravel and try again. With tatting, the knot was there for good, and the only way to fix a wrong turn was to cut out an entire section with a murderous pair of scissors.
It’s no surprise that I preferred crochet. I’d rather find a way to unravel than cut anything permanently. My childhood friends employed my fingers to untangle knotted necklace chains, and my mom always gave me the twisted and bundled Christmas tree lights. I undid ratted braids, retrieved fishing lines in trees, and rescued kite strings from extinction.
Never cut what you can untie
Many of us have ties that should be cut. Old habits, toxic thoughts, and individuals who represent the tangled threads of a lifetime. It’s the poets who point out the nuances of these complicated relationships and encourage us to explore.
An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.
~~Ancient Chinese Proverb
This Chinese proverb has been called the red thread of fate and it’s used to explain the instant connection we experience with certain people. You may have felt the tug when you meet somebody for the first time, and it’s like you’ve known them forever. Maybe it’s a new co-worker, the person next to you on a flight, or your spouse back before they belonged to you.
The silk strands that link my heart to others resembles a red, tangled ball. I’m a hoarder of hearts, and I feather my nest with bits and pieces of twine from everyone I carry with me. Instead of cutting or breaking threads, I unravel or untangle – anything to keep the string tethered to my finger while giving it slack.
It’s my grandma’s hands that I see when I’m digging in the dirt and tending flowers. Her voice reminds me when to plant the seeds and when she thinks the last frost will happen. The calm of her presence guides my fingers to wrap the twine around the dowel, mark the spot, extend the line and hoe the next row.
My mom spent hours teaching me how to sew and it’s her voice I hear when I remember her instructions about how to gather pleats. Don’t pull too tightly. Keep the right tension. Don’t break the thread. I see red and gold silk strands when I think of my mom and imagine her needle sewing paisley swirls into an intricate tapestry – entwined with my brother’s and sister’s threads who complete the pattern.
Our intertwined lives create a design of vibrant colors, interesting textures, and unique qualities. Friends meet and interact and form their tribes. Families converge and meld and merge. My children meet people, and then I meet their people, and they become my people. We live, interact, and find new ways to connect. Lines cross, threads intersect, and lives change and tether to each other.
These people, you people, are on my mind all of the time. I must be the noisiest quiet person in the world because conversations run at a constant staccato in my head.
I wonder how she is doing. I really should say hello. I’ll drop her a note later.
I hope their family is doing well. Love the picture they had on Facebook a few weeks ago. I should text her.
How is my sister? I miss her babies. And my brothers. I miss their babies, too. I haven’t even met Chloe yet.
How is my Tanna? I haven’t talked to her since Tuesday. Does she know how much I love her?
My mind is messy, and my hands are busy. I’m sitting on a stone step somewhere with my big ball of twine. Winding and unwinding and tying and knotting and thinking of you. It’s all different colors and reflects the people I cherish. With each line I untangle, I send a silent prayer or phrase to the person it represents. I haven’t forgotten you, my friend. I carry you in my heart, and you are with me every day. I’ll be back to visit soon, and we will pick right up where we left off.
The ties that bind us are sometimes impossible to explain. Some bonds defy distance, and time, and logic. These relationships withstand harsh words and complications and not even death can break them.
Some ties are simply meant to be.
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow-men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” ― Herman Melville
Do you know want to know where the kite strings quote originates? I Googled it and found it contained within the song Closer by Jars of Clay. What a happy discovery and another piece of twine to add to my nest.