Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Tapestry

I always thought he was headed toward a bad end—the half-naked man riding his rusty bicycle along the highways, collecting aluminum cans.  But he returns every summer.  I am left wondering if he has a wintertime condo on stilts in the turquoise waters of a Bora Bora lagoon.
It took me years, but I have learned not to make assumptions and not to judge.
The guy on the bike might collect cans because he enjoys doing so; exactly because it doesn’t mean a thing.  Me?  Maybe I have tried a bit too hard.  Did I need to work all those hours?   Should I have visited my grandfather one more time than I did?  Did I step on others?  Could I have given more to families in need?
Collectively, when the pot is stirred down, we are going to find you, me, and that half-naked man collecting cans alongside the road.
I had a dream about the end last night.  Not so much about the end.  About my life.  My life was, literally, a tapestry.  The tapestry was framed in wood and made of earthy-colored fibers.  A small crowd of people—strangers—were looking at the tapestry.  I stood there with them.
On the left side of the tapestry, the beginning, the fibers were smooth and tightly woven.  A flower pattern extended for a foot or two from the frame.  As I scanned across the tapestry, the fibers became loose and frayed.  The flower pattern broke apart, became a mix of random colors.
By the end, the tapestry was no more than plain burlap.
From the crowd around me, a man spoke.  “Put your ear against the fibers and listen,” he said.
I bent forward and pressed an ear close to the fibers.  I heard the soft beginning of Ravel’s Bolero.  As I moved across the tapestry, the music grew bigger, more chaotic, crashing.
Bigger than it needed to be!
I woke.
I have been thinking about the tapestry ever since.  I have been thinking about us…collectively.
What are you hearing?

--Mitchell Hegman