White worm on my palm
knows that I mean her no harm.
We both wish she'd stay.
This evening my friend and I went to see the Silk Mark Expo 2008 at the Kanteerva Stadium. The silks were absolutely gorgeous. Every colour, every shade, so many different textures and styles. There were fabrics embroidered, bejewelled, painted, printed .. I don't wear much silk myself (only like stuff I can throw in the washing machine) but it was such a visual feast.
At the end, well actually at the beginning, but I missed that section the first time round, there was a special display of fibre and cloth and the like. Then, to my delight, I discovered there was a special display with live silkworms at different stages of growth. They start off as tiny as weevils, and then grow from skinny adolescents into full-bodied plump white caterpillars.
I assume that I was the only woman there who showed such absolute fascination, because the man in charge of the display was so pleased by my attention that he actually picked one up and let me hold her in my palm. Imagine that! A silkworm, sitting in the palm of my hand. I talked to her for a while and told her she was beautiful, and that she was safe with me, and I apologised in advance for her future (we get silk from boiling the cocoons). She seemed so reluctant to leave my hand and go back to her mulberry leaves and her munching siblings. (Hence the haiku).
In all the displays, there was not one picture of what these caterpillars look like if they somehow live beyond the cocoon stage and get to complete their metamorphosis. Not one butterfly (or are they moths?) I wanted to rescue the little worm in my hand, run away with her and let her finish.
But yes, I have silk in my cupboard. And a leather bag on my shoulder. I eat meat and I even have one zebra-skin purse inherited from my mom (back before fur was murderous). So what do I do? Nothing, except thrill to the memory of a silkworm sitting in my hand, and cement that memory with a blog.
Later, over a most exquisite Italian dinner at Sunny's, I was talking to my friend about the worm, and it struck me that a silkworm might just be the worst possible thing to be reincarnated as. Given all the lovely symbolism about caterpillars and cocoons: the growth and struggle, all that munching and spinning and waiting, with the hope of turning into something beautiful and taking flight -- cut short after all that effort, just before the magical rebirth. A butterfly abortion.
Perhaps this is the attraction of silk: the thwarted butterfly, colourfully fluttering in the wind, off a woman's shoulder.