This little pouch, around 3”x2”, hangs off a tuning peg on my long-silent dulcimer. Inside is a piece of wooden dowel for the slide and a couple of guitar picks.
Flashback to the late 1970’s – I’m sitting on a bench in a laundromat in Ashland, OR, waiting for my clothes to dry. There is a young, barefoot, very pregnant woman in a long skirt and colorful scarves sitting next to me, crocheting these lovely, intricate pouches, using the tiniest crochet hook I had ever seen. She works steadily, meticulously, with ease.
She tells me her name is “Chhaya” and that she lives in a teepee somewhere up the mountainside. She intuits that her baby will be a boy, but she has not picked out a name yet, because “when he arrives, he will name himself”. She asks if I would like to buy a little pouch, and pulls a handful of them out of her bag, one more detailed and beautiful than the next. I had used up all my money doing the laundry, but agree to meet her at the laundromat the following week, which I do.
I think I bought four of them, each different and lovely. She took a check, and when I asked her who I should write it to, Chhaya from the teepee in the mountains revealed Chhaya was her guru-given name and she was actually Michele Gruenbaum from The Bronx. This made me smile. I can’t believe I remember that over forty years later, but I do……
I hoped to find her again to purchase more of her lovely pouches, but I never ran into her after that, or if I did, I cannot recall. Maybe she was busy having her baby on the mountain. I gifted two of the most beautiful ones and kept this muted one to keep guitar picks in. I thought I had another colorful one somewhere, but right now I can’t seem to find it. Maybe I gave that one away too.
I wonder if she had a son, and if so, what he ended up naming himself. Out of curiosity, I looked on FB today to see if she was listed, but haven’t pulled up anything that seemed likely to have been her.
Sometimes we are all just little sparkles bouncing off each other for a moment in time.