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Gabe watched patiently as her grandmother worked, needle in hand, weaving the tapestry in front of her. Picking up her own needle she slowly began to emulate the intricate movements the elder woman had performed, producing the desired patterns.
"Excellent," her grandmother replied, admiring the girl's work. Gabe was a quick leaner, and quite skilled with her hands. Gabe beamed. She always enjoyed teaching sessions with her grandmother. The older woman had a great deal of knowledge and skills. Not only did she know the art of weaving, but she also knew a lot about plants and herbs and healing, another art which she had taught to Gabe. Often the villagers would seek out the old lady when they fell ill, or for advice on crops, when to sow them and how to make the harvest prosper more. The village ‘wise woman' they called her, wisdom she was now passing on to Gabe.
"Let's try a different stitch now," her grandmother said. Her gnarled fingers grasped the needle again and she winced from the pain as her aged joints protested the action.
"Grandmother," Gabe said, concern in her voice, "perhaps you should rest now, we can try again tomorrow."
"No, Gabe, I want to finish this before the sun goes down. The pain is not so bad."
Smiling bravely, the old woman started her work, speaking as her fingers worked the threads.
"Do you see the threads, how they interweave with each other, lending strength and beauty to the tapestry? All life is like that Gabe, a tapestry of interwoven and interconnected energy that holds the world together. No one better than the other, but all necessary. And it is how we weave them, that's what gives us the myriad of patterns and what makes them strong. Do you understand?"
"Yes, gran," Gabe nodded, brown eyes illuminating with understanding. Her grandmother loved to teach her the old philosophies, using examples from all her daily task to illustrate the subtle wisdom of the lessons.
"Good, "the old women nodded. She looked over at the girl with satisfaction and then set down her needle. "I think I have taught you all I can, Gabe, the sun is going down now, it is time for me to retire."
As her grandmother spoke the words, a tinge of sadness touched her voice. To Gabe she sounded weary, and she now looked older than she was.
She studied the old woman, who was now looking sorrowfully at the setting sun as it sunk into darkness, her face a mask of mourning, like that of someone who had lost a dear old friend.
"Are you alright, grandmother?" Gabe asked, clasping the other's hand in her own.