Broken Reel

May 30. E. said I should ride my new hose reel all the way down the hill…

Hey everyone, sorry for my extreme tardiness in posting!  I will try to get caught up soon.  Here’s what happened on Saturday:

I’ve been waiting to transfer the knit line to my new hose reel because E. said it needed time to cure, judging by the fact that it smelled like the factory workers in China sealed it up in a bag right after they spray painted it. Today, the tarry odor has almost disappeared. E. volunteered to help me transfer the knit line from the old hose reel to the new one, so we met up at 2 pm. E. kept telling me, “Relax!” I didn’t feel that nervous, but perhaps my hovering over him was making him edgy. The line was severely tangled so we decided to gently unscrew both sides of the hose reel to take the knitting off. The hose reel was much sturdier than he or I could have imagined, and impossible to deconstruct because someone had caulked the side pieces to the reel. In the end, E. smashed the thing into 4 pieces with a wooden sledgehammer, like an Old Testament priest quartering a sacrifical bull. It was not pretty, but it was necessary.

June 1 2014 Quartered Hose Reel
Even though I was sorry at the waste, it made sense to me on a poetic level. I thought of the violence done to a cocoon when a butterfly bursts forth, or a snake skin cast off like a pair of holey nylons. As a plant must split the shell of its seed in order to send for a new shoot, there is a violence that is built into the very heart of the mystery of life.  As singer songwriter Leonard Cohen puts it, Ring the bells that still can ring/forget your perfect offering/there is a crack, a crack in everything/that’s how the light gets in.
The line had outgrown the old, cheap plastic hose reel, just as I am in the process of outgrowing my old self. This week, I have felt so stretched, as if someone is pulling my arms and my legs in opposite directions. My friend Sandy says I’m expanding, and I am, but it’s painful! If you listened quietly, you might hear my psyche emitting a high pitched “eeeeeeeeek!” I am that person who used to sit around envying other artists who were “making it” while not lifting a finger to apply for shows or meet people. I drank a lot of tea, and complained and holed up in my apartment. This past week, by contrast, a curator in New York City asked me to knit a 15 foot line for an art show called Hope. Mind you, it is only a one day show at a conference, but still, it’s New York. So I knit 15 Feet of Longing in three days, my arms aching, stressed and crazy, powered by prayer, Earl Grey tea and a Neil Young cd.
I am so uncomfortable with change, especially the positive unscripted changes that are coming my way–I think it has to do with the comfort of the familiar, even if it’s shabby and worn out. As the merchant says of the Ali’s town Agraba in Aladdin, “It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home,” I now know why I ran away from my dream of being a full-time artist all these years. Taking my dream seriously has required me to let go of my old, familiar self that was actually imprisoning me…It’s a daily struggle still to let go of clutter, fear, procrastination and to practice organization, gratitude, and self-discipline. But it’s sure an upgrade, I think, as I look at my shiny, new hose reel with its quiet springy tires, strong handle, and spacious drum.

And yet, the old self was the container that carried me to this point…And so I reverently gather up the 4 sections of my old hose reel in the hopes of making an artwork out of these broken pieces some day.



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