17 April 2008

i make baskets...there, i said it

Don't start laughing and snorting at making baskets. Basket weaving is an ancient craft. It's not done without patience, bandaids, and several hours of wrestling long, wet strips of wood.

My mom and I recently went on a mini-vacation together to the Point Reyes National Seashore for a two-and-a-half-day basket making retreat. Such grand fun. Rustic group cabins were available at the environmental education center,

but since that's not my mom's "thing" (and this was her birthday present from me) we opted to stay at a near-by barn loft apartment above an artist's studio, complete with a small kitchenette, a very small upper-loft (second sleeping area) accessed via a ladder (that's where I slept, but I did get her up there for a picture), a private patio, and daily rooster calls (he was a bit confused on the concept of what constituted a morning wake-up time).

At the end of the retreat, we both returned home having seven baskets between the two of us--not all completed but that's the nature of the craft and the time constraints).

New threads of memories to share and recall: morning tai chi and yoga, a walk to see the blooming wild irises near the ocean shore, quail watching/listening (three covey's of over forty birds in each were spotted with their cute bobbing heads in the grass), a night-spotting of a cougar by the roadway, and an absence of the deer.

What a wonderful weekend to recharge my creative soul--cell phone and computer free isolated working environment, sea air, nature, and new friends.

I must recount a dash of humor shared during a culminating/bonding exercise we did near the end of the weekend. It was a bit like musical chairs, where the chair-less person in the center of a circle of occupied chairs directed "all those who...{fill in the blank}" whereby all the participants who also shared/experienced it stood up, madly dashing for another chair in the circle that was temporarily vacated. The last person left standing then had to divulge something else, thus keeping the ebb and flow of participants ever-changing. I'm sure most people have done similar exercises for bonding in groups--I have done a variation of this in my classroom. But with fifteen women, after two days of retreat, sharing meals and sleeping quarters, interesting personal tidbits are sometimes exchanged.

  • "All those who have blackberries": Now, I would have thought that there would be a great rush of movement--not so. Only one woman stood up, so the exchange between chair and center of circle was oddly quiet. Then the woman who was now in the center stated how odd that no one else had blackberries in their yard. The laughter was riotous, since everyone except her understood that "blackberry" was not a bush but a pda/phone. What a sign of the times of technology.
  • "All those who have lost their underwear while walking": (Yes, you read that correctly). Again, only one person stood up, but then I must confess I was surprised by the statement and by the fact that another person also shared the experience. By the end of the explanations (yes, there had to be explanations) I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard. Let's just say the two occurrences involved: 1. laundry day where one is down to the last pair of underwear one should have thrown away long ago since the elastic has lost all memory of being elastic, wearing a skirt, carrying a basket of clean laundry down the street--she took a quick look around, let them fall, walked out of them, and kept on walking. 2. last month of pregnancy where the underwear never stay around such a girth, shopping in a mall, her pregnant-duck-waddle-walk turning into a walk with her knees as close together as possible trying to hold up the underwear while looking for a restroom or changing room to make the appropriate "adjustments".


Courtney said...

Sounds like you had fun :-)

Diane said...

Ha! I'm laughing here, too. What a great story!!! I think it's so great that you make baskets (and, well, I think it's really a super cool thing to do... I do it too!
; ) but never in Point Reyes... that sounds heavenly...

cher said...

Wow! I really need a trip like that. Why would you think it's bad weird you make baskets? I think it is awesome! You're so bi-craftual.

Antevasin said...

I'll teach you to paint or do stained glass if you teach me to make baskets!?!? What an awesome retreat!