It looks Persian perhaps. Faded dark reds, muted blues, patches of yellow trying to break through jaded greens amidst swirls of stories told in symbols of chest combs, mother goddess hands and ram’s horns. This enormous carpet is heavily textured, edged in brocades of old golds, thickly woven around motifs of birds and fetters and stars and amulets and lies straight and squared neatly on the dusty floor of a long wide stately hall which echoes in shadows cast by high lead windows overhead. Thick with dust and history, this antique kilim holds messages from the hands that wove the carpet knotting patterns of stories – dreams, memories, sorrow and joy.
These hands that were held captive in an ancient society that restricted their every movement were free to express the stories in their hearts through the language of this flatweave rug.These are our stories – yours and mine – woven into this masterpiece.
When we first met, so many years ago now, one tiny thread had escaped from the tightly wound weave at the top corner on the right hand side. With our first words to each other, this thread began to unravel. If we look back from this vantage point, more than half the rug appears to lie in ruin, Behind us reams of unravelled thread lying scattered under the windows along the floor with no discernible pattern nor design, simply a teased mess of old yarn. Yet looking forward, the colours in the remainder of this sacred kilim, glow in the half light of this dank dark hall. It’s beauty becomes more intoxicating with every thread removed revealing its perfection.
My heart stops and I feel gripped in panic. There is less than half the carpet left and I realise that there are stories that I don’t wish to unravel. I don’t wish to lose anything.
Who am I without my stories? They are me and I am them.
How can I let them go?
I wish to simply snip the snaring thread off and even the rug so that this last remaining section can be once more appreciated and its function utilised again. We must stop now. This rug holds stories of great beauty and pain and within this last section it still holds a complete tree of life motif in rich tapestries of greens and blues.
How could I have unravelled so much of this rug?
How could I rip the pages out of my own history book?
Who will tell my story now?
I am pale and weak with horror. fists clenched grasping unravelled strands in desperation. Yet you are calm and centred and courageous enough to move away from this carpet. You no longer cleave to your stories that cling to the remaining threads and smile as the tree of life begins to collapse into strings of colour. Observing you while standing a little behind somehow provides a little relief from my fear and through my tears I see clearly that I have a choice to make.
Actually there is no real choice here. My only option is to surrender and submit and say goodbye to the remaining shards of colour and geometrical designs already woven knowing that behind me lie mountains of strong colourful beautiful thread bunched and strewn into messy balls of sheep’s wool, goats hair and silk.
Yet when I look again, there is nothing behind me – nothing – only space and light.
With no colour or design how can I look back?
Where is my story?
Where is my anchor?
Where am I?
I no longer exist.
I am nothing.
In my magic carpet ride, the story does not end.
There is no story.