I just came in from digging holes in wet ground, planting basket willows. Yes, basket willow! The hope is that in a couple years, I will have four brilliant colors of willow shoots to twine into baskets.
Which seems like a bit of a leap from someone who has made exactly one basket in her life. One basket that is uneven in every way, full of inelegant transitions and signs of clumsy hands – everything you would expect from a first attempt. Honestly, I’m really not sure when I will get to a second. It may be a couple years from now when I have willow to harvest, or it may be in a couple weeks if I have a pocket of time and the motivation. Either way, I’m confident that there will be many more in my future.
Making this first one felt like waking up some very old knowledge in my hands. I hadn’t the slightest idea how to go about making a basket but each step just made sense immediately. And even when my hands were clumsy, I could see exactly what they needed to do.
Now it’s true that I’ve been in love with just about every archaic handcraft that I’ve ever met. And I have slowly come to accept that there may not be enough hours in this life to learn them all, and that I might actually get more gratification from doing a couple well than trying to learn them all. But basket making always felt like it would find me at the right time and apparently, that time was this weekend. So while I am fully aware that picking up another archaic handcraft is possibly the last thing I need in my life, I also accept that some things are inevitable.
So I may as well start growing the willow.