Every woman of our village is given a silk at birth, or at least the finest cloth a family can afford. The length of the bolt is said to foretell the length of her life, though I’ve never known that a money-lender’s sister wrapped in twelve yards of silk lived longer than a decently fed farmwife with a short measure hanging on her sewing frame. The first skill a girl-child learns is to sew a small bell to her silk each day so that when she marries, she will dance with the mu- sic of four thousand bells. Every day she sews so that when she dies, her soul will be carried out of this life on the music of twenty-five-thousand bells. The poorest use seed pods or shells, but still these stand as a marker of the moments in our lives.
If you’d like to send me something to help through my chemo, go out a pick up a few small bells with loops or hooks that can be sewn to cloth.
Here’s an example of the size range of bells we’re interested in. We’re probably better off on the smaller end, for the most part.
To send me bells:
Bells for Jay Lake
PO Box 42611
Portland, OR 97242-0611
Cover illustration © 2011 Dan Dos Santos, used for promotional purposes with permission of the illustrator and of Tor Books.
Photos © 2012, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.
This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.