The Universe, Antarctica and Weaving

blue ice

I am pretty much convinced that the Universe is not under my control. The corollary to that is that sometimes the conscious choices you make are a result of the lessons that the Universe has sent your way.

Way too philosophical.

To understand my convoluted thinking I have to start this story in the middle.


I got there because a friend of mine won a trip there in a raffle. A “put your name in the bowl” type raffle. What are the odds?

She had lots of friends and family that she really wanted to accompany her but, for one reason or another, none of them could go. I was about ninth on the list. But when she asked me I JUMPED at the chance. What are the odds?

I had always wanted to go to Antarctica. ALWAYS.

As I boarded the boat in Ushuaia, a man with a name tag that read “Jim” saw my name tag and said, with a wonderful Irish brogue, “Gael, as in Gaelic?”. He had a friend for life. Someone who would NEVER misspell my first name. He was the ornithologist and one of the cytologist experts.

Another expedition leader that piqued my interest was Ingrid. She was a naturalist with a long background as a park ranger at Denali National Park and a long background in storytelling.

She told stories that fascinated me and the result was a reawakening of my desire to write. And how I told stories.

Antarctica woke up many things in me that I had forgotten or put aside or ignored for quite awhile. Mostly the white ice, blue icebergs, singing penguins, lazy seals and blowing whales gave me colors  that could fill my loom and experiences that would fill my head.

Some of the colors were muted. The grays and whites of a seal.


Some were amazingly bright.

Some color was unique to Antarctica.


Our last day on board this tartan was posted. It was named Antarctica. And it was beautiful.


It was a REGISTERED tartan so it was not available for anyone to weave. I wondered if I could design a tartan around what I saw and felt in Antarctica.

I returned home and began to write.

I also began to design a tartan. A unique tartan.

That took a bit of research. Scotland is serious about the use of the word tartan. It must meet specific guidelines as to color and design. It isn’t a true tartan until it is registered with the Tartan Registry.

Feeling a little out of my depth, I contacted Jim. In Ireland. I wanted to know if there was a registration for Irish tartans. (there isn’t) and I wanted his input on the design. He has been a godsend.

The prototype for the design has been submitted to the registry. The tartan, if accepted, will be named the “Edward Bransfield Commemorative” tartan.

And who, you may ask, is Edward Bransfield? He was an Irish Antarctica explorer who is credited with the first sighting of the Antarctica Peninsula. And Jim is the chairman of the Remembering Edward Bransfield Committee in their mutual home town in Ireland.

What are the odds that a weaver would meet a person who as the chairman of a committee to build a monument to an Irish explorer  was excited about a tartan?

Which leads me to where Ingrid fits in this story.

We had been communicating through various social media since I got back. Mostly short notes about her work and my efforts to improve my storytelling. But I sent her a copy of the prototype.

She asked how I got started into weaving. What are the odds that she would ask that question? It has been asked before. So I looked back at an old writing.

And, I repeat myself, the Universe started this epoch.

IN 2014, I was planning my retirement. I thought I would try weaving.

Weaving? Ms. Not Domestic? Really? Why?

I wrote about it.

The Universe. I am telling you. It is all tied together.

It all matters.




Categories: Antarctica, Color, expeditions, Philosophy, Travel, Uncategorized, Weaving

1 comment

  1. You have an incredible gift of storytelling. I am mesmerized by your musings, and in awe of your talent. I am a lover of Alaska and it’s incredible beauty. When you talked about your new friend, who gets to work in Denali, it brought back such beautiful memories. We are making our third trip there this summer.


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