Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Square 59: Asters and goldenrod

Square 059

There are few sights as resplendent as a September meadow full of asters and goldenrod. I dream of making a tapestry to portray this beauty.

A few years ago Danny and I dyed some yarn using goldenrod flowers. Natural dyes often smell foul, but that dye pot made the whole cottage smell like warm honey, and the fragrance clung to the yarn for a long time. I used that yarn for the three rows of light gold in this square.

Wild asters come in many colours. I took all the yarn for this square on an outing where I planned to knit it, but up arrival discovered I had forgotten to pack any white, one of the most common colours and an essential part of the meadow fabric. But several of the Noro yarns I had brought showed white threads of silk, so I used these, doing my best to set their highlights off against saturated solid rows.

Pale pinks are also common. One of my favourite species is Aster lateriflorus or calico aster, so named because the central discs of the flowers vary from yellow to pink, purple or brown on the same plant.

But perhaps the largest and most distinctive is the vivid purple New England aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae. This colour is not as easy to derive from natural sources, but I'll have to find it for my tapestry.

I haven't gone on a walk to see asters and goldenrod yet this year. When I thought of doing this square, it reminded me that last year I walked every day from April to December to create a daily photo journal of nature. This year my nature walks have been far fewer, and this story blanket is partly to blame. I haven't had time.

There is not time in life to do everything we want. I have a hard time accepting this truth. When I think about time I tend to feel impoverished. Instead I ought to focus on the richness of opportunities and savour each day as a gift.

Last year I went on a lot of walks, saw some things I had never seen before, took thousands of photographs and created a remarkable photo journal. It was good. I try to take pleasure in the memory, understand that it is still part of my life, even though it's in the past.

It's no good to regret what I haven't done in 2009. Instead of walking and taking photographs every day, I have worked long and hard on this story blanket. It commemorates many things I have seen and love, like asters and goldenrod. It is good, too.

When I am finished I will move onto another adventure, and it will be good, and maybe someday I will lose this habitual regret.

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