When you climb the stairs in my home, you are greeted by “Bear Corner”.
I make them and collect them.
None of the bears I’ve made are there, as I give them away.
If you look at the shelf with the three bears, you will see a small plaid one with a charming black nose.
He was made by the woman who taught me the art.
She lived in Australia for five years, and while there, learned the art from a friend she had made.
This friend of hers passed away, leaving fur and material behind.
In a box was a scrap of plaid.
My friend reached in and took it out, and my little bear with the charming black nose was born.
He is very special to me, because he represents something; Friendship.
One woman from a far away land befriended a woman from this one, teaching her something and leaving her with a bit of the creativity that was housed within her soul.
That American, upon returning home, shared the skill with me, offering to teach me on the first day we met, even though I was a stranger to her!
Now I carry the knowledge within my own soul –
Knowledge passed from woman to woman that originated in the land “down under”.
I will never know that generous bear creator, but I am glad she was not stingy.
That little plaid bear…
He represents hours of labor, friendship, love, generosity of spirit, the sisterhood that women share, and this truth:
Land and sea may separate us from one another, but people are people, and if you love your fellow man, there is no such thing as a stranger, just a friend you haven’t met yet.
(A variation of a quote that some attribute to William Butler Yeats.)
I leave you with this poem:
THE UNKNOWN FRIENDS
By Edgar A. Guest
From: The Path to Home, 1919
We cannot count our friends, nor say
How many praise us day by day.
Each one of us has friends that he
Has yet to meet and really know,
Who guard him, wheresoe’er they be,
From harm and slander’s cruel blow, They help to light our path with cheer,
Although they pass as strangers here
These friends, unseen, unheard, unknown,
Our lasting gratitude should own.
They serve us in a thousand ways
Where we perhaps should friendless be;
They tell our worth and speak our praise
And for their service ask no fee;
They choose to be our friends, although
We have not learned to call them so.
We cannot guess how large the debt
We owe to friends we have not met.
We only know, from day to day,
That we discover here and there
How one has tried to smooth our way,
And ease our heavy load of care,
Then passed along and left behind
His friendly gift for us to find.