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On The History of Networking

As a compulsive maker my knitting accompanies me everywhere. This week presented another opportunity to knit by a smoky campfire under a star studded sky. A pack of feral children with grubby fingers were squashing marshmallows onto beautiful double pointed sticks and discussing celestial objects as their sweets blistered and dripped into the fire. I was concentrating hard on a decorative picot cast on when a child called out; “look at the sky”.  I looked up to see her pointing into the starry blackness with a charred stick.  A glowing Chinese lantern was blowing across the sky and a satellite was moving towards it, followed by the bright lights of a low flying plane. Together they headed towards the Dog Star which was chasing a glistening flying object, and then a shooting star and a rogue firework joined the heavenly convention. For one fleeting moment an uncharted, eight legged constellation could be traced in the sky and we were suspended in time under the sign of the spider. She told us her story.

We watched starry eyed as Arachne’s historical legacy was projected into the night sky. We saw weavers from the industrial revolution, knitters from Scandinavia and the Fair Isles, and tiny fingers reeling silk from cocoons in Ancient China. She showed us 19th century Fishermen in Lowestoft fixing their nets, North African carpet weavers, Vermeer’s  little lace maker and Louise Bourgeois monstrous mother. Then she showed us a network spanning time and culture, with threads woven into every landscape.

As the clouds eventually moved in and the pictures faded the children ran back into the woods. I squashed the last marshmallow onto a rosewood stick and spent the rest of the evening pondering the ancestral history of networking.


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