Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weaving with Juana in 'Upper' Cancha Cancha

Photo by Emerita
Waking up the next day... there was a different light and bounce in my eyes and step again. It does a world of good to have a good long night's sleep behind you, even if in your sleep there are moments of loud weather noises and it was not easy to know if the roof would blow off or not. Back in the kitchen we enjoyed a steaming warm plate of vegetable soup and a big cup of  morning tea, more cat purr and  since Valerio, Emerita and Anais were on their way back down the mountain again and I was scheduled to continue up the mountain for another hour... Dorothea found her weaving to show us what she spins and weaves.
 It was time to head out into the beautiful wild and new landscape again, I knew that ... Upper Cancha Cancha was .... just around the corner and so .... with Jose being kind enough to carry my backpack we set out. After a few minutes he swung in to have a chat with some friends behind a fence pointing me ahead - and true to form I kept putting one foot in front of the other - staring ahead of me, not in a discouraged manner but in a determined manner, I won't be needing so much time today .... I won't be needing so much time today. And I didn't, for we didn't have far to go. Jose trotted past me with  my backpack and then I just had to keep my eyes on his rapidly shrinking body blending better and better into the colours and textures of the mountains surrounding me. I was not left all alone though - behind me at an equally brisk walk came Dorothea - she had had a few things to do before being able to head out for Juana's (her mother)  house.

When I looked behind me there she was a colourful dot, rapidly gaining size in the landscape. Dorothea caught up with me and we walked (slowly) and talked, across the language barriers - using the few words that I knew in Quechua and trying out a few Spanish ones and then..... Dorothea getting me to try out a few new ones. It was hard work getting up the mountain path and she saw my tiredness and suddenly as she was walking and spinning (and with the end of her spindle digging out a few useful herbs that had just come to the surface in the hope of rains - and stored them under the brim of her hat) she also began to hum and sing - I was so pleased to be able to engage my ears and tried to not loose momentum, one foot in front of the other and repeat! Then we got to the point where we could see the homestead of her parents and I pulled in a big breath and stopped - we were almost there - I was however panting for air - D looked at me and said something which I understood as a question as to whether I could sing or knew a good song - I stood there in the middle of the Andean mountains, at high altitudes and then I began to sing In Dublin's Fair City - a song I used to sing to my kids with great gusto when they were little. Dorothea lifted her hand and gently massaged the top of my breast bone through the jacket and sweaters I was wearing and when I had finished up one verse it seemed that I breathed much easier and  ..... we could go on. It was quite a surreal moment - and when I think back to it I have to smile in wonder that I was able to sing and at the choice of song. But what does it matter, it was what came out and D's gentle touch helped settle my struggling system.

This is a 'stripe' on a bag Juana had for sale - it was the pattern I chose when asked what I would like to weave.
It looked interesting and different from what I had been working on with Apolonia down in Calca and ..... how hard can it be anyways! (rhetorical question)

Dorothea at work

Dorothea and Juana started out making a warp for me - as per usual custom all happens on the ground. They had two large iron spikes which were hammered into the ground.

Juana at work at the other end

Then some discussion ensued about how to set up the warp, the sequence and number of warp threads needed and .... the balls began to roll back and forth. I was pleased to participate only with my camera - although the walk this morning had only been about an hour or so I was exhausted. It was lovely to watch and listen and my ears were quite enjoying the whole experience not to mention my eyes which were full to the brim of new impressions and yet another warping technique.
And this is a favorite photo of mine - two hands meeting in the middle to make sure that they had the cross as organized as they wanted it, checking out to see that ... it would all work out.
Talking hands at work!

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