sew the sky to the ocean

We were watching my mother gather the edges of her knitted bed cover together, gathering the loose ends and matching them along the selvage.  It was massive and cumbersome, sliding off the tray of her wheelchair and lodging in the wheel rims.  Her hands were manic and the actions repetitive but it was soothing for her, the task taking on whole horizon.

Frank quipped, “It’s important to sew the sky down at the horizon.  It keeps the ocean from spilling out.”

There were times when being in the presence of frenetic activity would have me reaching for control.  I would need some way to shut down the energy before it reached critical mass.  Listening to a talk by Sharon Salzberg, I begin to understand that practice is about pivoting away from the external stimulus and turning into the inner experience.  What does it feel like to be in the presence of frenzy and restlessness?  It feels like the ocean is going to spill out.  And I understand the fear that can drive this need to gather the edges of the sky and sew them together.

However, it’s futile.  This frenzied activity only leads to exhaustion – perhaps even boredom and then loss of motivation (oh, my favourite twins, sloth and torpor).  And besides, the point is not to staple down the horizon to avoid the drama of a flooded universe.  That’s just another delusion.

So what’s left?  What’s right.

4 thoughts on “sew the sky to the ocean

  1. Beautiful post!

    My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s as well. One time when my husband visited her she was repetitively pulling out the fringed edges of an afghan trying to make the edge smooth – thinking there was something wrong with it that needed fixing evidently – who knows what was going on in her mind. In the process she unraveled the weave of the afghan itself.

    One tries to sew together what cannot be sewn together, the other tries to unravel the what has been woven together – either way you can’t contain what cannot be contained, control what cannot be controlled, or fix what cannot be fixed – as you point out…

    Heart Hugs to you!

  2. yes to turn away from the outer stimulus, to turn away from the “content” and see the process. thank-you for this reminder. so easy to want to shut down that frenzied activity that makes us feel uncomfortable, to want to bring calm as we perceive it. lovely to stop and see it all.

    and what a poetic husband you have! such a lovely way of describing it.

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