Saturday, October 17, 2009

Square 70: Brenna's colours

Square 070

While I was knitting at the cottage on Thanksgiving weekend, Brenna started pawing through my bag of yarn, picking out colours and twisting them together. The first combination she picked included a new skein of ivory Berroco Lustra, the misty green from Tanis Fibre Arts, and some unknown apple green wool. It was delicious. I was struck by the fact that Marian, Brenna and I each have a knack for colour. Our tastes are different, and the yarns Bren combined were unlike anything I had thought of (I like green, but Bren loves it even more!). I was immediately attracted to her selection, and decided to use it in this square. I also incorporated some variegated green and red yarn from Pat Leclair, which I had purchased a few days previous at The Black Lamb. Some of Brenna's ideas are also reflected in the previous square about Thanksgiving (she has a good eye for pink).

How much of our shared passion for colour is in our genes, and how much have I passed on by exposing the girls to my geekish, artsy behaviour? It doesn't matter. Colour is one of my delights, and I'm happy they can enjoy it in their own, unique ways.

In this blanket, I tend to think of a story and then choose yarns to communicate it, but Brenna's experimentation encourages me to approach the colours for their own sake. Perhaps for the next square I'll choose the colours first, start knitting and wait to see what story the yarn tells me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Square 69: Thanksgiving

Square 069

Things I am thankful for.

The gift of two unique and beautiful daughters. Being in love with a man with whom love-making has never—not for an instant—been boring. My dad being alive and well and happy.

My laptop, my camera, my apartment, the new houseplants I’ve kept alive for the few weeks since I moved in.

My cottage, especially my cottage when the sky is clear and the lake is warm, the water blue from above and golden underneath.

The two aunts who encouraged me to bring Danny to my mother’s memorial, the cousin who has cheered me on, my friends.

The places where I like to hang out and write like the Red Brick CafĂ© and the Green Room. Community hubs like Out On The Shelf, the Rainbow Chorus, Writers’ Circle and Rainbow Knitters.

The insight that allows me to derive my own meaning in a universe that is inherently meaningless. Depression that taught me to treasure each day. Creativity that allows me to create treasure. Eyes to see beauty, ears to hear music.

Especially Sibelius’ Symphony Number Two. Also Schubert, Brahms, Dvorak, Rachmanninoff, and Vaughan Williams.

The intimacy that comes as two strangers learn to trust, the joy that comes from trusting myself enough to be alone and enjoy my own company.

Computer games that distract me. Good food that gives pleasure.

Being in love with a patient listener.

Losing my temper. I mean really losing it, for so long that I could almost forget the feeling of uncontrolled anger. The challenge of calm and simplicity that somehow elude me but draw me ever higher and onward.

The words of Stephanie Dowrick, Natalie Goldberg, Annie Dillard and Ursula K. LeGuin; the worlds of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien; the imaginary characters who have kept me company; the real friends who replace them.

My 1920s oak library table.

A grandfather who liked to tell stories and nibble my toes.

All the stars in the universe, meteor showers, the planets, all the things we have yet to discover, all the mysteries that keep us humble, a universe that is far too complicated for us to understand.

Oh yeah, and nature, how could I forget my favourite herbs, shrubs and wildflowers? Let’s start with lilacs, lavender and lemon verbena, the fringed gentians the bloom in August at Singing Sands, magnolias and old-style, fragrant yellow roses, lady’s slipper orchids, sundews and pitcher-plants, the fragrance of a pool of violets in spring, the radiance of a meadow of asters and goldenrod in autumn.

There’s also the birds, especially cedar waxwings, eccentric and gregarious, but also catbirds, all the warblers I learn to identify by ear.

I mustn’t forget pianos, radios or CD players. Cars.

Grocery stores full of familiarity and discovery. Peaches and apricots, mushrooms, shellfish, all kinds of cheese, red wine, liqueurs, pesto, dark chocolate.

My kitchen, my bed, the shower, the windows where sun shines in.

Hardwood floors and stained glass windows, pipe organs, bookstores.

The Eramosa River, Lake Fletcher, Lake Erie, Georgian Bay, Hockley Valley. Towns that enchant and cities that engage.

Live theatre, symphony orchestras. Rufus Wainwright and k.d. lang. Her voice, yes thank you for her voice.

That early memory of running barefoot through the grass with the drone of cicadas in the air.

The memory of my last evening with Mom when we had the conversation I never expected to have, so full of forgiveness. The full lunar eclipse on the night she died and all the full moons since.

The fellowship of lost friends as long as it lasted.

A quiet place on rocks by a stream, deep in the woods, just sitting and watching.

Walking on a winter night on the ice under a full moon, or walking under no moon when the Milky Way is so brilliant I can feel the distance and depth of the stars. The forlorn call of a loon at night, the blinking of fireflies, the choir of toads by a river in Guelph on a mild May evening, the way nature fills more of my life when I let it.

The special way I have of seeing colour and putting different colours together. The way photography, writing and fibre seem to play off of one another.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Square 68: Fall

Square 068

It's the Sunday morning of Thanksgiving weekend at Lake Fletcher. Hard frost during the night. Mist rises from the lake, and long beams of the rising sun highlight brilliant maples on the far shore. The dock is slick. Each leaf fallen there is beaded with pearls of ice, or laced around the fringes.

The air is perfectly still. Leaves sift constantly downward, tickling their sisters, whispering, “Come with me!” Two chipmunks chase one another through the undergrowth of bunchberries. A pair of nuthatches visiting the feeder utter soft, staccato syllables to keep in touch. There is no other sound.