Writings by Tim Girvin
Poléng

Rain patterns... I'm sitting, looking at fabric, in my lap. It's there because I'm wearing it -- a layering of black and white banded interlacings, with a mixture of gray at the junctures. It's plaid. My daughter, Gabrielle, says that it reminds her of a pizza parlor. I don't know of any italian restaurants with black and white patterned tablecloth, red and white maybe, but not black.

It's actually a lot of fabric, because it's a sarong, from Java. The name of the pattern is poléng. And my contemplation ranges from the fabric, to the outside, and back again. Outside? It's dark, raining constantly; it's a deepest blueblack, like looking at the darkened corner in the interior of an abalone shell, blueblack pearlescent. Blueblack and graywhite: a long, chipped rendering of the rippling waters in predawn dark, and black black.

And as I move in thought, between the two -- walking out side, shirtless and feeling the warmth of a breeze from the south, and the rain soundings, I look at the site interweavings -- of blackblue, white, blackestblack and gray. And then the poléng fabric, I'm wearing -- black, white, grey. They interchange, in my mind.

In Java, this is all about spiritual mystery. And being me, I'm always going there, in my mind -- where is the mystery, beneath. The patterning of this sarong is poléng -- its ancient weaving is: Good and evil, and the layering in between; it is the clear light of white - the God, it is the black stroke of the other -- the Dark; and, in surprising acknowledgment, the grey of
in-between.

I really can't quite believe that -- that willingness to explore the layering and affirmation, between the light of White, the evil of Black (and they can't exist without eachother) and the grey of the mist between. Most spiritual renderings don't go there; it's either right (my way), or it's wrong (the other person's -- the outsiders -- way). There's no grey.

This morning, walking in the mist and darkness, wearing the symbolism of the colors and presence / absence with which I am surrounded is powerful.

And wonder full -- as I contemplate it...

xo

t.
(Originally sent: October, 18 2004)

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