Dear Souls in Earthsuits,
Growing up on a farm didn’t give us a lot of options as to how to spend our summer days. I don’t mean to sound like the random geriatric patient, but having grown up 15 miles from town, we didn’t have the luxury of hanging out at the skating rink, the movies, the pool, or having our mother drop us off at our friend’s houses for the afternoon. But to be quite honest, I’m really ok with that. In fact, I’m indebted to my modest upbringing for a vivid imagination. We were left to each other and our own devices to entertain ourselves. This meant a LOT of time spent at grandma’s house.
My grandparents had an open front shed just north of their big white farm house. In the very back of the shed was a huge spool of… something.
“What is THAT?!” I asked
“It’s baling twine.” My grandma replied
“But… what IS it??”
“The boys use it to bale the hay. You know, to keep it all together.”
To me it looked like jacked-up dental floss, but my grandma explained that it was very strong; that you’d have to cut it to get any of it off of the spool. I thought, “No way…” But no matter how hard I pulled on the thin threads, it would not break. It didn’t even stretch. I was intrigued by such a phenomenon. The twine was literally no bigger than a few strands of dental floss, but proved to me to be strong enough to “tow the tow truck”. It was supertwine.
Every time I ventured out to the shed, I’d cut a piece off. Sometimes it was as long as I was tall; sometimes it was just enough to chew on, depending on my mood. I would wrap one end around my hand, and secure the other end underneath my tennis shoe and pull with all my corn fed, farm girl might to show my cousins that there was no way the twine would break. We’d entertain thoughts of tying one end to the rafters in the barn and swinging across cow pens and hay bales. However, not one of us was willing to suffer the wrath of my corn fed, farm father if by chance the execution of that fabulous plan went awry. But we were all convinced that it was supertwine.
Sometimes I’d cut off a piece small enough to chew on. It was what I called “my all day chewing gum”. I could chew on that piece all day long and it would never come apart, it would never split, it wouldn’t even fray. It was supertwine.
I was astounded by the almighty twine; twine, which with a few strands held millions of tiny pieces of straw in perfectly shaped rectangular prisms. Big burly farm men were forced to wear rugged, tough, leather gloves in fear of “the twine”. Twine that my grandma said had to be sliced with a blade to separate from itself, because otherwise, it could never be broken. It. Was. Supertwine. And I thought there was nothing stronger.
After my grandmother died, I didn’t go to the house as much as I probably should have. It wasn’t anything like it used to be. Storms had taken many of the structures that made it “my grandma’s house”. The garage, the milk house, a machine shed, and even the little outhouse in the backyard have suffered the fatality of nature’s disasters. But most of all, she wasn’t there.
When I did go back… I went by myself. I didn’t go in; I just walked around the perimeter. I walked through the grass where the milk house used to be, where her garden used to be, where her clothes line still hangs. I walked to the back of that open front shed and found the spool of supertwine. I didn’t have anything to cut it with but I reached out for it anyhow.
It fell apart in my hands.
It was dry and brittle and crumbled with a faint touch.
It had been at least twenty-five years. I don’t know what I expected. It’s an open front shed; no shield from wind, rain, sun, age… nature’s fatality. And my supertwine was dead.
This life holds a lesson on impermanence of matter. However, this life is not the beginning, and it is not the end. It is but a snippet of the infinite-ness that is the “I am”. If we can separate the ego from the essence, we find that this life is not as serious as our mind makes it out to be. Try to see the world without giving it a label… without giving things a name. Feel the life teeming through the limbs of your human suit… THAT is who you are. A formless gathering of ageless energy. THAT is the life you are meant to feel. The love you are destined to seek out. You did not come here to fix a broken world, you came here to learn to love yourself. Sans the supertwine. 🙂
I love you,