Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Extreme Embroidery...and Transfiguration

I came to the Cape this year for the month of September to immerse myself in its natural beauty...and to do a few fiber art projects.

So it was that yesterday I took myself and my two poodles to First Encounter Beach to do some needlework.

My destination:  this structure, made by hands unknown, the perfect place for me to set up my little beach chair, pour a dish of water for the dogs, and pull out my embroidery.

The person who erected this structure also decorated it with carvings and the name "First Encounter."

But before I started my needlework,  I had to walk the tidal flats at low tide.  My favorite time.  Look at the ripples in the sand, so perfectly formed yet so changeable:

The sea water sparkles golden in each tiny trough.  And the bay itself is transfigured by the sunlight on the shallow water.

Within sight of my little shack, I can see the Church of the Transfiguration across the bay.  This structure, the basilica of the Community of Jesus, is covered with art in glass, stone, and mosaic. Its most striking feature is the apse, where one wall is covered with a bas-relief glass sculpture, painted with gold leaf, depicting the water in this golden, transformed state.

To the minds of its creators, this golden, glowing water not only symbolizes, but imagines, Jesus in his transfigured state.  In the story of the transfiguration, Jesus and three of his apostles went up to a mountain, where Jesus began to shine with rays of light, radiating the glory and splendor of his divine nature.  In Christian teaching, in the transfiguration, human nature meets God and the temporal and the eternal come together in a bridge between heaven and earth.

In the words of the Community of Jesus, the Transfiguration "not only reveals the unique glory of the Son of God, but it also proclaims that the divine life can be borne by human flesh, and that the resplendent light of God can shine in and through the darkest regions of every human heart."

When my heart was filled with glory, I went back to my shack and took out my embroidery.

You can't tell from this photo, but the piece I'm working on shows a tunnel-like path traversing the wooded top of the dunes high above the beach in Eastham and Wellfleet, within the National Seashore:

This spot is so magical to me that I'm willing to spend hours rendering it in pearl cotton and embroidery floss.

Want to know how windy it was out there while I was working on this?  Very.  That's why I'm calling it extreme embroidery.

I had to go to the Eastham Library to compose this blog entry, and as I sit here, I'm viewing and hearing my daughter Julia, streamed on the Internet as she stands at the bima at Central Synagogue in mid-town Manhattan, where she is a cantor, singing the Yom Kippur service.  Yom Kippur invites transformation also, encouraging us to become our best selves.

Here's a link to that service.

Truth is one, and the wise enter it in different ways.

No comments:

Post a Comment