This misty grey morning, as I peer out at Elliott Bay and think about the voyage ahead–down the hill in the rain, onto the water taxi and across the bay, up through Pioneer Square to Chinatown where I’ll do T’ai chi at the Seattle Kung Fu Club studio, I feel energized and serene. Reading Peter Ralston lately has been inspiring, and to practice T’ai chi and make quilts at the same time seems somehow philosophically coherent.
As Ralston writes in Principles of Effortless Power, “Only the ‘form’ survives of anything created and then passed on in time, since creativity resides within what is formless and this formlessness cannot survive, having never existed. Therefore, only when the form is being consciously created in this moment is it truly useful and representative of its origin” (xx).
The form, message, and feel of a quilt become visible over time, as seen in the photos below, dated 11/20/21 and 11/26/21. Once created, it is. You can feel it with your hands and face, snuggle under its warmth, enjoy its bright colors and patterns. It may fade if left in the sun, or be stained by some accident, yet a quilt will usually survive a pretty long time.
The Form we practice in T’ai chi comes to life in time as well. Yet once created, it is gone, until next time.
So far, I’ve learned about 20 minutes of the Wu Form. When I practice, I feel like I’m inhabiting a timeless realm where themes and refrains repeat through space, spiraling and stepping to some unknown beat. Can’t wait for class!
P.S. These photos of the water taxi and Chinatown are from July 2018, when we had just moved here. They do not represent the world as it looks today, on 11/27/2021. the fog hangs heavy over the water this morning… making the world just a little more quiet.