writing a language I can’t read

 I am working on four quilts with tree images; oak, birch, cottonwood, and dogwood.  I’m spending a lot of time staring at, fondling, and sketching branches.  Each species has distinct qualities, of course. The curves and rounded ends of dogwood branches somehow remind me of the japanese lettering my daughters are learning, while the points and angles in a stand of oak have some quality in common with jutting, swooping arabic.  The task of capturing those aspects in cut cloth and stitched thread is daunting, like writing a language I can’t read.