Yesterday was May Day. I have been musing about the different ways that date is celebrated in America, from marching labor unions to dancing earth goddesses. As a child in New England I wove baskets out of construction paper, filled them with wild flowers and hung them on the neighbors’ doorknobs. Here in Fairbanks we don’t have wildflowers yet (except for a few intrepid dandelions), but yesterday I participated in a beautiful Beltane ceremony wearing a wreath woven from store-bought flowers. We danced around a Maypole, weaving our brightly colored ribbons into a lovely pattern.
Each of these ways of celebrating involves weaving, whether it is making interpersonal connections, affirming community solidarity, or creating a piece of impermanent art. One of the songs we sang in the Peace Choir on Saturday night was “Famine Song,” based on a song sung by Sudanese women as they wove baskets during a time of drought. The weaving and singing together helped them through this hard time. For me, weaving means connection.
In doing the Maypole dance I observed how my color showed up in the pattern. It didn’t get blended into a whole but retained its distinctness as it intertwined with other colors. That makes me think about how in a Quaker meeting we each contribute our distinct spiritual gifts, weaving a pattern that is different from what any one of us could create on our own.
Then there are the words from one of my favorite hymns:
Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian (or Jewish or Muslim or whatever) love.
May you Blessed Be