Friday, May 15, 2009

the bib and the jellyfish

i completed a bib i have been making for antoine. i started making it on the morning of the day he was born. it took me half an hour to put it together, but i didn't have any snap buttons, so had to go and buy some, got contractions on the way, came home, had baby, sort of forgot about the bib for a few days. that was almost two years ago. then, last sunday, i woke up with the sun smiling at me through a chink in the curtains, stretched, got up, took a hammer out of the cupboard and hammered in the snaps. it took me ten minutes.

half and hour plus ten minutes, that's forty minutes to complete a bib. you'd think. except for the endless remonstrations, complaints, and pestering i put myself through in the intervening months ('when are you going to finish that bib?' 'what, you still haven't finished the bib????' 'come on, how much effort would it actually take to finish that bib?' 'get up! go and finish the bib!' 'right now!!' 'what kind of an idiot can't even finish a bib?' 'i bet it will take you less time to finish that bib than it takes me to form this sentence' 'you know what it is, don't you, it's laziness/lack of perseverance/incompetence/apathy/inertia/idiocy, that's what it is' 'tomorrow, tomorrow i will finish the bib' 'tomorrow, i promise that tomorrow i will finish the bib...').

we went to the zoo last week, and had a fantastic guided tour behind the scenes of the aquarium (for an entertaining and instructive report, see here). at some point we stopped in front of the jellyfish raising section. there was this large round aquarium with jellyfish in it, and they were all turning in circles, at the same pace, and in the same direction, on an invisible ferris wheel. one of the children asked why they were all doing the same thing, and the amazing answer came: jellyfish are not strong enough to move by themselves, they can't swim, they can't determine their direction, or their speed, any movement they make (except for that 'open and close' thing which turned out to be their breathing) is actually the currant lifting and carrying them. at the zoo, the currant happens to be a ferris wheel.


wisdom by juxtaposition. what if i too am a jellyfish, but an odd one, delluded into believing i can determine my own course? what if all i ever do is flow with the flow, whether i want to or not, whether i brace myself or let go, whether i resist or embrace the wave. if it isn't bib-making time, it just isn't bib-making time. whether i give myself a hard time about it or not. all my pestering and worrying, all those months, didn't get me an inch closer to completing the bib. the currant simply wasn't going that way. and when it finally turned, why then, no effort involved, no remonstration required.

a jellyfish can never get tired, or burnt-out. it knows that self-improvement is a really good joke. oh, to embrace my jellyfishiness.

(the bib in the photograph is actually part of a baby-shower gift for a little girl who was born this week, the pattern comes from Bend The Rules Sewing)

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