A tale of silk yarn and a tree

(A tale that I am starting to forget)

We were walking next to each other through a field of the dark golden rye. The field had no end and if we looked in any direction all we could see were the multiple shades of golden rye moving slowly in the soft afternoon light.

We were not walking together. We did not hug or hold hands. Nor we were walking separately. Just side by side. We liked the closeness of each other. Sometimes we were silent, sometimes we talked.

We saw a person standing in the middle of the field. As we approached him, we saw his dark coat with a hood over his head. His clothing resembled that of a monk or of an old person who walked many roads and is used to sleep under the stars. We could not even surely say if he was a man or a woman. Sometimes it seemed to be a woman talking under the hood and sometimes we thought he was a man.

And then I realized that you were no longer you but a tree. You became a large oak tree under which shade I was standing. And then the man under the hood said, “I will give you some silk yarn because you are to knit the most beautiful blanket that ever existed. It will be the most precious yarn your hands will touch and you will enjoy the work greatly. You will love what your hands will be able to knit. It will not be easy.” And he felt silent for a while, then looked at the tree next to me and continued, “You will need a lot of patience. And confidence. A lot of people will come to rest under this tree and they will all leave. A lot of people will be next to you and you will get to be with many, and they will also leave. A lot of things will hurt you and him,” and he looked at the tree, “and you both will go through a lot of pain. But you must not stop knitting. You have to continue till you know that the blanket is complete. And you will know. It will be the most beautiful blanket that ever existed. It will be the lightest and the softest one. It will be gold and transparent at the same time and it will be heavy in winter and airy in summer. Its pattern will make the eyes happy, its touch will make you feel peaceful.”

The old man stopped talking and after looking at the tree and at me said, “Here is the yarn.” I expected him to pull a bag of yarn magically out of nowhere but instead he dipped his hand inside of his coat and handed me a small ball of yarn. It is true that the yarn shined as gold and it was unusually transparent, it made my hand heavy and at the same time it seemed weightless. It was the most beautiful yarn my hands have ever touched. But it was just one ball of yarn. After I stopped admiring the yarn I said, “I will not be able to make a blanket out of just one ball of yarn.” And the old man replied, “It will be enough. Just never stop knitting.” And then he bowed his head to us and proceed his road. In a few minutes he was not visible anywhere in the field.

I sat under the tree, leaned my back on the trunk and started knitting. And then it all happened like life happens in movies when you put them on fast-forward. We were together on this field and then many people passed by us. Some stopped because of the shade that the tree gave, some because they liked sitting next to me and talking. Some would sleep under the tree, some would put their head on my shoulder and find some peace for a short while. They would leave and new people would come. I would walk around sometimes to get the touch of the sun on my skin, but then I would come back to the tree and resume my work. And so we grew fond of each other. I got to love his shade and his trunk that I leaned on while working, and he got to love my constant company, the stories I would tell him and the work that was being born under my fingers. The blanket was getting bigger and bigger every day and it acquired the most mysterious and attractive pattern that human eyes have ever seen. It was soft and warm and it always looked festive and bright. It absorbed all the colors from the sun and shined throughout the day, and when the sun was getting lower it would turn gold and transparent and shine like stars throughout the night. And as it grew bigger it began to keep the tree and me warm during the chilly nights.

A lot of time have passed since I started the blanket. And then one day we realized that it has been quiet for many weeks in a row. Unusually quiet. There were no more people coming to spend time under the shade of the tree and no more travelers coming to listen to my stories. It was a sunny afternoon in fall, similar to the one when we met the old man with the silk yarn. I was leaning on the trunk of the tree and it was incredibly comfortable and it was quiet around. And the tree liked me leaning on him. The sun was setting and the fall wind was blowing away the leaves of the tree. Now the leaves were as gold as the rye around us.

And that day we realized that the blanket was complete. It had the finite form and did not need anything else. It was beautiful. It was gold and transparent; it was warm and light; it made the eyes smile when looking at its pattern. It was large enough to wrap it around myself and the tree. And so I did.

We both grew to love each other’s company and now it was peaceful under the warmth of the blanket.

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