Buttons (Square 062, Sidney Draw)

Posted on February 28, 2017

IMG_2746A journey of a thousand buttons begins with a single button . . . but it’s still 320 buttons. (Eight terrain squares x 40 buttons per square [20 front; 20 back] = 320 buttons).


I have all the tools. “Cheater” needles (self-threading) and Thread Heaven thread lubricant and “finger cots” and a thimble and locking-pliers for when the fabric is painted or heavily stitched and it’s nearly impossible to pull the needle through. I sew five times through the holes, then make a knot, then wrap the thread five times, then make another knot, then knot again.

Current score: 25 buttons done; 295 to go.

I think of MIchael Hannon’s poem, “Ordinary Messengers”:

Between heaven and earth I write one line.
Sometimes another line follows:
ambitious legions singing their way nowhere,
or ordinary messengers carried deeper into human life
by the music and its woman stepping out of her clothes,
to the heartbeat of what comes next, what goes on for its own sake.
The page after the last page, on which we do not appear.

And that is part of the solace of repetitive labor—I sit still but my memory ranges.

Between panic and peace, I sew one button . . . . Sometimes another button follows.

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