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The Beaded Koi

Years from now, if someone asks what I did during the pandemic, tell them that I beaded. Much as Penelope wove a burial shroud as she waited for Ulysses to return from the Trojan War, I beaded. Unlike Penelope, I had no ardent suitors to keep at bay. Rather, I beaded to combat boredom, isolation, fear, anxiety and other side effects of the unwelcome changes to my life caused by the virus.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am not a beader. This I maintain, even though I find it virtually impossible to pass up a sale on beads at the local arts and crafts stores. The colors, the way they reflect the light, their tiny sizes—all this entices me to add to the collection of beads I hoard away, inviolate, against the day I would feel compelled to use them. Little did I realize that it would take a global pandemic for me to begin beading.

About the time our state went into quarantine/social distancing/work from home mode, I had virtually completed a fabric piece, a 36 inch square abstraction of a koi. One day, early in the pandemic, I thought I would add a bead or two for a bit of bling. I am now literally thousands of beads into the project with no end in sight.

I have found the process of adding beads to my piece to have an almost Zen-like calming effect. Every day since I began, I have been able to fall into the tranquility of the beading process and counteract, or perhaps more accurately counter-balance, the news, the rising death toll, the political tensions and the ugliness that can so weigh one down. I focus, bead by bead, on the needle and the act of placing the bead just so. This, unlike the virus, I can control.



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