Beginner's Heart

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

I have a copy of this tapestry, one of my favourites. The idea that women made this — centuries ago — that they sat together for probably a decade (1495-1505), creating this thing of such intricate loveliness, among them? I’m awed.

I’m also awed at how little light there is in the tapestry: the unicorn, the meadow  flowers, a lighter shade for the woods of the fence & tree trunk. Mostly? Dark threads.

When I bought my copy, I was very young — mid-20s. I had to pay it for a year. And what I loved about it, of course, was the magical unicorn — glowing almost as if lit. Now, knowing far more about life and its dark places, I value how the dark threads allow the bright ones to gleam, to reach out to us.

Of course it’s a metaphor. Christians & pagans both claim the unicorn, but I claim the balance between dark & light threads. What Eastern thinkers term the balance between light & darkness. Note that there are far more dark threads in my tapestry than there are bright ones; life’s often like that, isn’t it? But what we focus on — humans that we are — is the light.

That’s as it should be, ever optimistic be. 🙂 But it does help, when things are their normal imperfect selves, to remember the ratio. And that w/out the dark framework and background, the unicorn would disappear…

It’s still National Poetry Month. Here’s one of my very favourite poets, W.H. Auden, on the unicorn:

New Year Letter

~ W. H. Auden

O unicorn among the cedars
To whom no magic charm can lead us,
White childhood moving like a sigh
Through the green woods unharmed in thy
Sophisticated innocence
To call thy true love to the dance…

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