Veiled

September 23, 2016 § Leave a comment

A Word Portrait.

Imagine a valley in the heat of a desert. Parched land, cracked and hardened for miles, dotted with hardy dust-drenched wildlife and prickling cacti. In the midst of the desert runs a river: sometimes nearly barren, sometimes overflowing its banks, carving a sloping trench of greenery through the dryness and the sand. And where the green meets the sand is a tent of jewel-bright colors.

They are this: the floating of silks in the wind, the soft heavy drape of velvet, the rustle of cotton and linen. Layers of cloth to make a dwelling, to signal a presence, to conceal and reveal. Shifting fabric of every texture and rich color. A tactile experience and a visual one and through it all the scent of oils and resins perfuming the night air.

Are they a tent or a temple? A disorienting maze of silken walls that shift with the wind or a draping comfort that muffles the sand and sound outside? Is the brazier of incense a thing of sensuality or sacredness, or perhaps it is both…

At times one might glimpse a repaired tear, a sword-gash sewn back up and layered over with watercolored silk, a rip mended with gold embroidery and glinting beadwork, a handful of loose threads longing for their former mooring. There is calligraphy along every seam and hem, tapestries holding knowledge in their warp and weft, a wisdom in the paint and ink hidden in the fluttering of layered veils.

Here and there are crystals to catch the twilight filtering through the gauzy roof, and sometimes an open space above to see the diamond starscape. Now and then there are chimes softly singing, and a tent-pole strong and bracing amidst the fluidity of cloth. The sand shifts beneath the woven tapestries of the floor, yielding yet supporting all at once. All is air and water, the night breeze playing on the surface of liquid cloth.

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