Yesterday, Ayn and I began building a twig awning around the back door. While we worked, we thought about weak twigs and strong twigs. We noted how what we were really doing was creating a tangle- using the weakest, most brittle twigs but twisting and tucking them around each other so they would not fall.
When we began, our structure was based on nothing but chance. We knew that the slightest movement of a tiny twig, disturbed by the wind or the vibration of the door slamming shut, could dislodge the next twig and the next and the whole thing would slip and tilt and fall.
By the end of the task we were experts. we knew to use the Y of a stick upside down, hanging the Y like th^s from a support above. This way we could hang long thicker sticks and then weave others through them, creating a thick basket that held itself together. We wove the sticks around each other, carefully testing the suppleness of a particular branch to see how many times it could weave- over under- creating the perfect amount of tension to hold up the twig wall.
We worked like this for many hours. Small scratches with tiny drops of blood crisscrossed our arms and fingers but we didnt notice. I imagine that the planes of our angular features showed our concentration and immense pleasure at our own ability to achieve our goal.
This morning Ayn and I ate our breakfast and then slipped outside in our barefeet to complete the task.
There were strangers in the driveway. They drove expensive cars and stood in a group discussing something about widening roads and over priced supermarkets. Ayn asked me who I thought they were. I ventured a guess."They must have something to do with the building of the barn." I pointed to the farm behind my house that shares our driveway.
Ayn and I didn't look at the group often as we continued to work. We listened to pieces of their conversation, keeping our faces uninterested and blank, while we put the finishing touches on the awning.
We felt their eyes on us whenever we broke a twig and sent a loud snap across the yard.
Though we remained unclear about exactly what they were discussing or who they were, we began to feel that our incredible ingenuity of thought, as we wove our twigs just so, was beginning to make them uncomfortable.
We are the doers, I said to Ayn with a look. She smiled in understanding. Somehow we became quite certain that, though they had jobs that involved the widening of roads, these people could never hope to be able to create something as simple and functional as our twig arch.