* Previously published in The Common
I bend to earth. My fingers trace woodworm tracks along a beach log. I hold a frog in my hands and see patterns of mottled green. I'm looking for patterns. My Southeast Alaska landscape is woven on spruce baskets.
|Basket woven by Teri Rofkar|
The weaver sees patterns: tracks-of-a-woodworm, the intestines-of-a-little-bird and rough-like-the-skin-on-a-frogs-back. She walks along the pond edge. The light wanes and it starts to rain. A diamond-like pattern in her mind’s eye: the-drop-of-liquid-after-the-splash-of-a-raindrop-when-it-meets-with-the-smooth-surface.
I share the same intimacies. I kneel close enough to see woodworm tracks, notice the shadow of a tree, the splash of raindrops, and the skin on frog’s back. I touch the tree bark, thick with whorls of life. I place the basket I've woven on the ground. Daylight shifts and a silhouette moves across the lid of the basket, and I stand quietly in the shadow of a tree.
* * *
|Saami drum made from tree burl|
I find myself drawn to the traditions of my Tlingit family members who are expert ceremonial robe and basket weavers. Their art tells stories. Here's a video featuring my children's cousin and fellow clan woman, Teri Rofkar, T'akdeintaan, a Tlingit Basket Weaver.