b is for basket
"Sale, Baskets." The sign in the window beckoned to me. It was too tempting, so I stopped at the array of baskets stacked haphazardly in front of the small shop--one of those shops that specialize in candles, knickknacks, soaps, and a multitude of items no one actually needs, but can't resist having "just a look."
I glanced over the dozens of baskets in all shapes and sizes, lifting one here and there. How could I use this? Where would I put that? And then, I saw it--a grayish, blue, unusually shaped asymmetrical basket with an angled handle made from a small tree branch, bark intact.
As I grabbed the handle, my right thumb settled naturally into a slight bend in the branch--it fit perfectly--and I felt an instant connection to the creator of the basket who had selected this crooked branch; noticed how perfectly it fit the hand, trimmed it, and attached it to the basket.
It was an odd feeling to hold the handle and instantly feel a connection to someone. Who was it? A man? A woman? Probably a man, I decided with a strong hand. But do men usually weave baskets? What country? China? Mexico? South America? From some kind of factory or a more primitive place of production?
All kinds of images floated through my mind--idyllic scenes of China with rows of Asian workers, even children making baskets, working quietly but quickly. Very romantic, I thought, but not realistic. The one true thought remained: someone had put thought and pride into the creation of this work. I purchased the basket, reluctant to let go of the handle.
Back at home I thought about workers in far away places and decided to check the labels of some of the clothes in my closet. The labels read: knitted in Mongolia, finished in China; Made in Jordan; Kenya: Guatemala; Mexico; Taiwan; Israel; USA (a few); India; Macau; Hong Kong; Turkey; and Honduras--a veritable United Nations right here in my closet. But despite the fact that I could imagine and appreciate the work and workers of my clothes (if I thought about it), none had that instant connection that I had to the creator of the basket, a hand shake of a sort, through time, space, and distance.
Have any of you bloggers bought or received something from a far-away place and felt a special connection?