Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Square 42: Verdant

Square 042

When Daniel mentioned that the green yarn from Tanis Fiber Arts reminded him of ferns, the first thing I though of was a place near my cottage. It is not far, perhaps 100 metres, but we rarely go there. You have to cross the road, pick your way through overgrown brambles, penetrate a wall of maple samplings, navigate of maze of ephemeral streams through the leaf litter and climb steeply uphill, all while fending off a host of mosquitoes from the nearby swamp.

Beyond all these barriers lies a deep forest sanctuary against a north-facing granite wall perhaps 12 metres high. Many tall hemlocks stand there. Others have fallen over the years. The ground is jumbled with jagged boulders and trunks. In the deep shade, ferns and lichens encrust the exposed rocks. I did not discover that particular grove until well into my teens, and I suppose the reason it enchants me is it reminds me of the Pacific Rim forest I wrote about in Square 12.

I never find evidence that any other humans have visited that part of the forest, but I have occasionally taken friends and my daughters there. Everyone wants to climb the cliff. The first time I climbed it was with my friend Mary and her younger brother, Rob. They were small and lithe and moved rapidly upward from handhold to foothold. I followed, but got stuck somewhere halfway up, unable to move forward or back. Mary had to describe the unseen purchases above my head so I could feel my way, finally reaching the top.

At the crest is a different world, equally magical. The same hemlocks dominate the canopy, but it is bright and open, breeze swaying the branches. At certain points you can see through the leaves to distant low stretches of lake like sapphire under the sun. The ground is soft, covered with reindeer moss and true mosses. It is tempting to sit and let the forest massage your senses.

I haven't visited the place in a while, but during this week of life change—rushing, packing, trying to remember everything that must be done—I often find my mind wandering there, scrambling through the verdant shadows to find a quiet place far from the madness.

As the blanket progresses, I am particularly intrigued with squares that use many different yarns to create a watercolour effect. This square utilizes eight yarns: an unknown grey remnant, Cascade 220 Olive Heather, blue Patons Soy Wool Stripes, Moss from Tanis Fibre Arts, a similar lichen green colour from Briggs and Little, some dark green-brown yarn handspun by Danny, some brown yarn I hand-dyed with black walnut, and dark auburn Tupa from Mirasol Peru.

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