Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cashel Saves the Earth

Cashel was ready for a new sewing project, one bigger and better than he'd ever attempted before. He'd just completed designing and sewing costumes for a full production of "The Wizard of Oz" which took place at his school. Glinda the Good had never looked more beautiful, her tulle dress shimmered with about five thousand sequins that had been stitched on by hand. Though Cashel preferred to make every stitch for every design himself since he started sewing five years before, at the young age of five, for Oz, he'd had to make a concession and take on a small crew, comprised mainly of monkeys--or, he should say, the youth who played the flying monkeys in the play. However, since his school advocated method-style acting, his crew insisted on being treated like and being referred to as monkeys for the entire rehearsal and run of the show.

One might think Cashel would be exhausted after a sewing project of that scope; instead, he was energized. This time, however, he had a bigger goal in mind. He did not want to simply create beauty with his work. Cashel was determined to design and create a sewing project that would change the world as we knew it. He'd already spent all last summer sewing clothes for the homeless women and children at the shelter his friend's mother worked at. He'd knitted 273 scarves and pairs of mittens last winter for those who needed them. But these he counted as average tasks in the life of a nine year old and he wanted to make his mark as someone above average. He wanted to be someone extraordinary.

"Mother," he started over dinner one night, a dinner of green peas and macaroni, one of his favorite meals, "What do you think is the biggest problem facing our world today?"

While mother was considering this important question, his eldest brother Gabriel piped up, "Racism!"

Then his second eldest brother voiced his opinion on the matter. "Bullying!"

Cashel fretted over these issues. He had friends at school who were bullied, and friends at school who often heard racist comments thrown in their direction. Cashel furrowed his brow because as hard as he tried, he could not think of a sewing project that would solve the problems of racism or bullying. He turned to his mother again. "What do you think, mother?"

"Well, racism and bullying are huge problems in this world. In fact, it's hard to choose one problem and call it the worst. There's so many things that need addressing in our society," she said.

"Yes, I know," said Cashel, "But please, not just in our society--in our city or on the playgrounds. What's something that's a problem bigger than all that." Cashel lifted his arms into the air and swooped them down as if he was touching the outline of a giant beach ball. "What's the biggest problem in our whole WORLD?"

His father, walking in late to the conversation after an afternoon nap, just caught that last question and as he slipped into his seat at the table, answered, "Global warming."

Cashel's mouth turned into a giant grin and his small hand slapped the table, causing the green peas on his plate to hop up off the plate with a little jump in the air. "Global warming!" said Cashel. "That's it!" He started to stand up before finishing his supper and then quickly thought better of it and sat down. "May I please be excused?"

His mother said, "Not until you eat three more bites of your peas and two more bites of your macaroni." Because this was Cashel's favorite meal, once he started taking the bites, he soon ended up clearing his plate. Though he knew there was no time to waste, that global warming was--right now--causing disasters and weather changes all over the country--he reasoned with himself that if he wasn't fully fed, he wouldn't be able to work through the night to accomplish the monumental task ahead of him.

First, he was going to sew giant quilts to patch up the holes in the ozone. Because Cashel was an artist and not a scientist, he didn't know exactly how the holes in the ozone were related to global warming, but he thought that if he was going to work on repairing the Earth's atmosphere through seamsterstry (a word he'd invented himself).

He quilted and quilted together yards turning into miles of blue fabric. He chose all varieties of blue, baby blue, deep blue, cyan, indigo, steel blue, sapphire, powder blue, electric blue, and—his favorite—true blue. It was a melody—no, a symphony—of blues. Even though he had to make quilts that were miles long, he couldn’t shake his vision to make the quilts with small squares that were only two inches by two inches. On top of this miniature square pattern, he sewed swirls and spirals, avoiding a definite pattern. He did his best to create a sky—made air molecules (represented by the blue squares) and clouds (represented by the overstitching of swirls and spirals, of which no two were alike). Again, because time was urgent, and the holes in the ozone were causing problems at an alarming rate, he enlisted the help of hundreds of helpers. He found his helpers through a flyer that he fastened up all over the City. It was amazing how many people who knew how to use a needle and thread or a sewing machine were also concerned about Global Warming. He soon built a fast network of seamsters and seamstresses, of quilters young and old.

After the quilts were made, he called NASA and imploring them to help with this important matter. Once he explained to NASA the project, they were happy to help and sent couriers to come to New York City to pick up the miles of quilts. A caravan of moving trucks pulled up on his block and stretched for blocks and blocks. All his crew helped load the quilts into the trucks. The caravan headed down to Cape Canaveral, where NASA launched a special rocket that flew the quilts to the holes in the ozone layer, and specially trained astronauts floated out of their vessel to pin the quilts to the atmosphere.

While the astronauts were busy positioning the quilts over the holes in the ozone, Cashel had already moved onto his next task—reducing global warming. He made patterns for these long long cloth tubes that would be attached to all smokestacks and car exhaust pipes. The tubes were to be sewn from a specially manufactured cloth that would absorb all the carbon and other toxins that are usually emitted from smokestacks and exhaust pipes. The cloth also had to withstand great heat. He decided, for this project, to sew the tubes out of all the colors of the rainbow, so that one car may end up with a green and a yellow tube on it, while the next would wearing red and orange. He was looking forward to seeing the whole world with cloth tubes blowing into the sky and from the backs of cars, so that the whole world looked like it was always on parade.

In order to fulfill this plan, because the people who owned the cars and the smokestacks didn’t necessarily like the idea of flying colored tubes off their pipes, he called every Congressman and woman in office and gave an impassioned plea as to the dangers of Global Warming and the loveliness of a world filled with colorful billowing cloth tubes as opposed to the steel and black of pipes. With every call, he believed more and more in the project, so that by the end, his own plea moved himself to tears, and, in fact, his mother and father and brother and brother, who were all listening in by the end of his over five hundred phone calls, were weeping so pitifully on the couch that no one had the energy to make dinner and they had to phone out for a pizza that night, which pleased Cashel, as it was his second favorite dinner.

After convincing the United States government to issue mandatory “socks” on all smokestacks and exhaust pipes (and replenishing his energy with an anchovy and onion pizza), he started phoning other countries’ government officials, and soon the whole world bloomed full of color and people were able to color coordinate their car paint with their exhaust pipe socks.

And this is how the world was saved by one young boy who happened to be an expert with a needle and thread. 

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