• Ellen Harris

#9 Fiber Art Threads of Gratitude

Fiber Art Threads of Gratitude express satisfying and joyful reminders of our connection to the Earth through the design of colorful weaving, quilting and other cultural artistic patterns that connect to our creative spirits. It’s, also, a metaphor for the fabric of life in particular moments.


Ice and snow Armageddon have passed and I’m grateful for having gotten through it somewhat unscathed. Water pressure diminished to almost nothing for a couple of days. Luckily, I noticed something was happening last Sunday afternoon and collected two big pots of water that I boiled because by that evening water barely dripped from the kitchen faucet. By late Tuesday, early Wednesday, I was able to collect more water and boil it due to tireless City workers dealing with the problem. Although we’re still under a boil water advisory, I’m grateful the water pressure has been mostly restored throughout the City.


While I didn’t lose power or heat, I lowered the thermostat trying to play a small part in not over stressing the system. Instead, I layered up with sweaters, under garments, pants and socks not worn during this pandemic winter. I, also, checked in more often with family in Houston as we all bore witness to the devastation occurring all over Texas. My family didn’t have heat for a couple of days off and on, but by Friday my brother and his wife were out serving meals to the homeless; something they do on their own just for the pure joy of serving others less fortunate than them.


Speaking of metaphor and gratitude for the fabric of my life, there’ve truly been moments stitched in time this month. On February 12, knowing the weather was going to be bitter cold, I picked the last of my kale from the outside raised garden bed and out of curiosity prematurely pulled my first radish from the hoop house raised bed.

The next day I held a remote conversation with @SheilaHoward on the Table & Plate Project Delta Podcast. We talked about her growing natural juice business. And that evening I continued to participate in 28 Days of Yoga and Healthy Movement for Black History Month with @ShakaJamal and @ShomariMarCarter; two Brothers committed to doing great things in their community of Oakland, CA. Since I’ve been an active participant adding my two cents to the conversation, Shaka invited me to teach a class on Day 13. Having purposely not done a virtual yoga class, I stepped out on faith, did it, and had a ball with them. Shomari even gave me the nickname, Auntie Z, which to my amazement I’ve joyfully embraced as the elder of the group.

For Valentine’s Day, I prepared a slammin’ skillet of okra, shrimp, alligator sausage, and corn to stretch it out a bit. By that Monday, snow and ice were on the ground and the next 5 days were practically a visual of black and white. My screened in back porch even displayed sheets of ice. I didn’t dare venture beyond the front porch.

The sun came out strong on Friday morning, February 19, but my heart sank seeing that ice had caved in the front of the hoop house. Luckily, the pole placed in the center to secure it from an earlier collapse held firm. At first, I was scared to go out because of the solid ice on the ground; however by noon’s bright sun beaming, I headed out using a long garden pic hoe to brace my walk, removed the ice, pulled the front up as best I could, checked on the inside beds, laid chards of ice on them hopefully for melting water, re-burlapped them for the night’s drop in temperature, and walked gingerly around the property a bit. My little ecosystem was frozen solid. But the funniest sight was seeing a squirrel run across the frozen lake. Wish I’d been closer to get better pictures.

Yesterday, I discovered a full-grown radish in the hoop house bed. You’d have thought gold had been discovered. The vegetable fiber from that gorgeous radish was my art for the day! I relished a few slices on top of leftover greens from the garden and baked tortellini. As the sun set and shone through the screened in back porch, I gave thanks.

Today, there are real signs of the ice beginning to slowly melt. Again, I carefully walk around and down both roads to my property. Saw a bee frozen on the path, half remains of two birds that I didn’t have the heart to photograph, a big fat rabbit too fast for me to capture on camera, footprints of geese I guess cause there are lots of them around, my shadow, my footprints coming and going, and the roadways back home.


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