The cluttered studio just left a clear space around her most recent work.
A rollers on a stand held a large beige expanse of Aida fabric stretched for the work in progress, and her work was well underway. She had skeins of the best floss neatly arranged by color, and needles, scissors, threaders, magnifiers, and other less obvious tools neatly arrayed where they could be reached.
The scene was in a swamp, and depicted moonlight reflecting off the still water. Selectively leaving out stitches achieved a shining light effect, letting the light fabric and change of texture contrast with the dark blues, browns, and purples of the water. The stitching technique was impeccable, with every cross formed the same way and pulled exactly flat without puckering the fabric. The back side of the work was as neat as the front, and it was possible the work was intended to be seen from either side.
The technique involved to produce perfectly even stitches on both faces was unusual and difficult.
Especially since it is clear that the two faces are not actually the same image. One is the scene by moonlight. The other is the same scene by sunlight. In each scene, the plants are nearly identical except for different placement of the sprays of tiny lavender flowers, but the critters found in and around are typical of each time of day.
The frogs on both sides are striking yellow and black, with the distinctive markings of D. leucomelas. Not a frog you want to mess with casually, and they know it from their willingness to sit out and bask in the sun where any predator could make the serious mistake of eating them.
The embroidery really is exquisite.
One might expect that the frogs could almost hop right off the fabric.
The cage hung from a hook in the corner of a perfectly appointed room. It was gilded, as one would expect from the level of taste and sophistication shown throughout the other furnishings; gilded and ornamented to the point that any songbird kept inside would die of shame. The rest of the room was a riot of silk brocades, tapestries, rugs, tables, and decor. The room did not even attempt to speak with a coherent voice. It had no story to tell beyond the obvious “my owner has no taste.”
The cage was empty, its door standing open, a single yellow feather the only memento of its occupant.
No cat was evident, other than from the feather.
Not that finding the cat in this room even if he was sitting in plain sight would be easy.
The room alone is not the whole story.
Or even the whole storey. Wandering the rest of the house, there is indeed a cat. He is not happy, as the bird’s owner is convinced the cat ate the bird. Cat claims innocence. but struggles to explain a second yellow feather found on his jaw.
Meanwhile, in the attic, a small yellow bird gloats.
While I envy their certainty occasionally, I also know that they are too sure of their position, resting as they are, on shifting ground. Any success they may have enjoyed will be short-lived. At the end of the day, they will have been gloriously certain of their righteousness for a short while, then grasping for toeholds in the truth revealed by their light.
They are too confident of their position.
And that will not last.
In stark contrast, we are certain of only one thing: that we are going to be wrong more often than we are right. Knowing that as truth, we plan to be wrong. That is, our plans generally allow for the action of Murphy’s Law. When (never “if”) something does not go as planned, we have already considered our options and can smoothly switch courses to make the most of the revelations.
Given shifting ground, move with it where possible, and step off of it where not. But don’t fall in.