Thursday, March 28, 2013

Taking Up the Art of Basket Weaving

Every time someone would ask what I was doing on Saturday, the words on my lips felt like a very poorly constructed lie.  "I'm going to the library for a basket weaving class."

Basket weaving?  Really?  Surely I could think up a better excuse for abandoning my husband with a rowdy trio of mini me's for three hours.

But at 1 pm sharp, there I was, nervously sitting in the local library's back room with eleven other similarly crazy ladies (and one crazy man) who thought it might be an interesting craft to learn.  Thankfully, I'd convinced a friend to join me in my foray into weekend madness so we could both fret over and laugh silly together at our ineptitude.

Picking up my first stack of newly-soaked reeds, I felt like a green professor standing before her very first class of ten unruly reed-students, all of whom knew this was my first day on the job.  While I watched the real teacher standing before me readily bully her reeds into instant submission, I could only tentatively bend mine into a right angle, slowly, almost begging them to do as they were told and praying aloud for them to not break.

The reeds could feel through my hesitant fingers that I wasn't a real master, not one who was ready to do whatever it took to make them compliant.  So, without a word, they instantly lay right back down on the table, refusing to stand up straight, even when I wove a first fence row prison around their sides.
Over the next two hours, I learned to soak (and re-soak) those rigid reeds to make them more pliable for bending.  I learned a mouthful of new words like weavers and lashing.  Then, just when I grew cocky, thinking I might just have mastered those stubborn reeds, making them stand at attention, somehow, I screwed up my over-under technique and had to rip out all the rows and start over.

I joked about how poor baby Moses would have sunk to the bottom of the Nile river if he would have had to rely on us to make his basket.  My friend quipped right back, saying there wasn't enough pitch available to make hers watertight.

In the end, after struggling to command the reeds into a square shape, to tighten them into a "candy basket" so small, my son's twelve plastic Easter eggs barely fit--we triumphed.
Even knowing that no one would be as impressed with my basket as I was, I still left that class proud as a peacock, head held high as a conqueror.  But more than that, I left with a new respect for Moses' mother, Jochebed.

Creating such a basket wasn't easy.  Jochebed couldn't order her pre-stripped 1/2" reeds over the Internet from Indonesia.  She didn't have a printed-out pattern before her listing the required reed lengths alongside steps with corresponding images labelled A, B, C, and D.

Instead, she would have had to personally walk to the Nile river to cut and gather her reeds, likely making the trip many the same river she would use to float her son to Pharaoh's daughter.  Jochebed then would have needed to strip her own reeds before creating a basket with such precision that it wouldn't sink.

It would have been a time-intensive, tedious endeavor, and that's without a baby boy in the room, one whose very whimper could draw Pharaoh's guards and sign his death warrant.

I always knew Moses' survival to be miraculous.  Until last Saturday, though, I just didn't realize how miraculous it truly was.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wish you could just edit a comment, I am hopeless with out spell check.
    Take 2:
    Good for you and great connection to the past.

    1. It was cool. Watch your local library. Mrs. Pat has been doing the classes elsewhere, too. It was the hardest thing I've done in awhile, but it was still neat.