Time To Weave: A Methodology – January 2015

In anthropology now, the term ‘thick description’ refers to a dense accumulation of ordinary information about a culture, as opposed to abstract or theoretical analysis. It means observing the details of life until they begin to coagulate or cohere into an interpretation.

I’d like to see thick description make a comeback. Apart from sheer sensuous pleasure, it gives you the comforting feeling that you’re not altogether adrift, that at least you have an actual context to enter into and real things to grapple with.

                                                                                           — Anatole Broyard


My first formal training in adult life was in animal husbandry (BS 1979).  I farmed.  I cowboyed.  I went overseas to teach agriculture twice for extended periods of time in SE Asia.

Being in a vastly different culture made me awaken to and question the ways in which I made sense of the world.  This made me start to name those influences.  Eventually I returned for my doctorate in epistemology, including a clinical component.

llamapackingI started raising and training llamas as pack animals in 1998.  We do well together in backcountry.  Then in 2000 I left my profession, returned to rural life, and became a Benedictine Oblate.

Now it is time to move on to the next stage and to begin to think about processing the llama fibre that I have accumulated.  Each winter I enjoy many months in solitude.  I need to buy a loom.  I need to learn to weave…perhaps even create a tapestry some day?  I have no designs on being able to support myself by doing this.  I am just looking for good, simple, non-distractive work that is conducive to contemplative prayer, compliments my life, and draws together the various threads of this precious and beautiful, simple and solitary, place and culture…all of the things that make up my life here.

This blog is a personal record of the wide range of resources, experiences, and perspectives that I am sure that I will discover and that I will consciously and unconsciously bring to bear on this new expression.

Thanks to everyone who is assisting me along the way…


Quiet Nights

I go to sleep on one shore,
wake up on another.

Boat all fitted out,
tugging against its rope.

                                                                     — Ray Carver