When our friend Paul, died Jon and I spent three days at Blue Star Equiculture helping out and being a part of the ceremonies that were going on. When I got home and back in my studio, I wasn’t able to get back to work. Everything I tried to do didn’t feel right and that first day I had this need to do something using my hands. Something other than sewing, something tactile, like my hands needed to move in a certain way. They needed to express what they were feeling. I still don’t have words for what that was, but those feelings came out in a long braid.
I took the hair I had from Chloe’s mane (Eli helped me thin it out as the beginning of the summer), yarn from my sheep Suzy, that my friend Suzy hand spun, and some of the old ribbons that I got from Laura Israel and braided them together.
When I ran out of Chloe’s hair I stopped. The brain was twice as long as my studio. I didn’t know what to do with it once it was done, so I hung it in my studio.
Yesterday Jon and I went to another ceremony at Blue Star for Paul. This time we were all saying good-bye and letting him know it was time for him move on. It was a ceremony of letting go. I still wasn’t sure what I would do with it, but on instinct, I took the braid with me.
After so many people spoke and prayed and sang what Paul meant to them, we drank water from the river that runs through the farm, from a buffalo horn spilling some in a bowl for Paul. Then the water from the bowl was sprinkled on the tree where Paul died as we circled around it. We each made an offering of tobacco into the fire and walked around it entering from the east and leaving from the east. Symbolizing the life that comes after death.
In this day of letting go and new beginnings, I thought I would unravel my braid, walking around the horse farm, letting the pieces go. I was going to do this quietly on my own, but Jon suggested I show it to Pamela first. When she saw the braid she wanted to keep it.
So I gave the braid to Pamela do with what she wanted, and that seemed right too.