Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Darning Needles

What did Swamp Walking Woman feed the Darning Needles?

She whistled sharply and called out, “Darn it!” Instantly there appeared a cloud of the Darning Needles who had befriended her many months before. In a fever of activity they set to work sewing the sides of the water against the shores. While they worked the woman stood with one foot planted on the shore of each island, holding each part in its place. Soon the tapestry was finished. She bowed. With her own needle and thread she sewed in a stretch of swamp flowers and grasses that were home to the insects Darning Needles like best. --from Swamp Walking Woman, publication date January 2010.

Darning is an activity of the past. Not that my socks last very well these days, but I don't darn thread back and forth over the holes in the heels as I used to when I was a child. I remember the wooden "egg" on a stick, how it was placed inside the sock and used to hold the form of the toe or heel. If the hole was very large, you had to catch the darning thread in the good cloth and weave back and forth, up and down across the hole, creating a patch of new cloth. The whole activity of darning socks makes sense when you consider that often the socks themselves were home knit and not to be thrown out lightly.

The dragon flies my mother called Darning Needles were small with thin blue and black needle-shaped bodies. They didn't sting or pester us in any way so we came to enjoy watching them skim over the water or buzz among the cattails.

No comments: