Chapter 7

Despite being aware by now of the correct manner to practice Strand—a loose hand, a letting-go of the concept that it can be controlled—some things still elude me. The will to let go at all, for instance.

It is pure foolishness, of course, to think that letting go of the need to control this one thing will extend to all areas of my life. A ceding of control in a game of chess does not translate to the same in philosophy. And yet it is true that people are not discrete, disconnected systems; they are many interlinked systems. One facet adjoins the next.

I think of spinning. It has been a long, long time since any raw fiber passed my hands, but there were times in the Dark Age when if anyone wanted cloth, it must be made from scratch. Fleece is shorn, then carded out to remove the imperfections and align the fibers. And when you have them, what then? A single fiber is short and fragile. It breaks if you tug even lightly. It is useless.

But twist many of those short fibers together, and they become useful. Weavable, or knittable, or what-have-you. Thus, is strong cloth made: from the most delicate of things.

I think of spinning, and I remember the way unspun fiber passes through the fingers to the spindle. One pinches, but not too hard, just enough to direct and narrow. Too much and the fiber does not pass, the spinning does not take.

The metaphor is transparent. Obviously, this is about Strand. Just as it is about a craft I used to know, long ago. Beginner's errors can only be solved by learning the shape of failure, but most yarns will not unravel the spinner if some mistake is made.

And I am afraid. Not only of death, of wasting that final sacrifice Sagira made to preserve my life. But that if I open my hand, I will find it no longer hurts, that the thorn I have imagined there for so long is already gone.

It is all the same thing, in the end. I think I must be willing to let go, to let that which is truly temporary sink beneath the water, in order to achieve any significant capacity with Strand. Even pain may be guarded jealously, as though it is a treasure, but it need not be.

How fascinating what the lens of Strand shows us about Darkness.