“Women don’t make journeys. They make blankets.”
A quip, intended humor, made birdsong and thus, discovered. I chuckle, but only to cover the wince. He was embarrassed to be reflected poorly in the mirror of another, but I suspect this would be, by far, the more cringe-inducing.
He is, of course, correct. The women always make the blankets. They weave them in quiet, with patience, and the full knowledge that there shall be no end of weaving; those to whom they give them are forever taking off on journeys and, inevitably, eventually, returning, either carrying the tattered remnants or wrapped in them.
He is, of course, incorrect. The women make journeys as they weave; one dusty campsite after another, the next beat down, rust-colored town, indistinguishable from the previous one except for the way his eyes light up to see it; as if there is something different, special, or meaningful in the new place that could not as easily been found in the oldest of the old but that they are lost to his memory. But memory does not redact reality and they yet live as twisted threads of violet, indigo, and crimson, in the well-worn weave upon which his saddle rests.
The truth, of course, is that a woman’s travels are rarely seen important enough to be called “journeys”; after all, a journey has a purpose and a meaning, a journey involves endurance and risk and courage and skill; the journey is a wild, untamed thing that bruises and cuts and bucks under you like a green colt from the valley; something to be bridled and saddled and ridden into weary submission. Only then, granted a blanket and only then because it, like its maker, are marked; possession and property, chattel… conveniently co-opted from the importance a journey might imbue.
The notion of patient, parallel travel, of companionship and comfort, of care that would tend to humble weaving long after sunset, by the smallest of candles so as not to disturb, no, no journey here.
The staunch, simple stamina that rises without fanfare to mend body, cloth, and mind, no, no courage or skill, no journey here.
The solemn strength that faces down silence and solitude and the question mark that is only answered by the sound of his boots upon the planks of the threshold, no, no journey here.
A stoic sewing
Calloused hands pull the next thread
Binding care to form
No, no journey here. Just a blanket.