I’m learning how to darn. So far I’ve inexpertly managed a few flat mends; I have yet to attempt anything advanced like sock heels or cuffs. My foray into darning was inspired by a book I picked up a few months ago from the library--Mending Life, by sisters Sonya and Nina Montenegro—which is both a practical introduction to mending clothes and an exploration of mending as a practice of healing and restoration. I returned the book weeks ago, but both its simple darning instructions and the idea that mending clothes could be an expression of a larger ethic have stuck in my mind.
What if caring for everyday objects, for people, for our communities, for land and water here and everywhere are tangled vines growing from the same roots? “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard wrote. “What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.” I don’t think darning a hole in a sweater takes the place of political action, or that individual action can change systemic problems, but maybe caring for household goods is one way to appreciate the material gifts of our daily lives—the food, clothing, and objects—and our responsibility to them. Maybe mending can be a small medicine for the large hurt of living in a culture of extraction and consumption.
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