turtle power

I learned to spin two years ago.  And while I have scarcely improved, my love for it has grown all the while.  I really love the uncertainty of it.  How you can spin something and have no plan for its end product in mind.  How you can be spinning, and thinking, and pause and begin and none of it matters.  It is the process (for me).  The feel of fiber running through my fingers, and perhaps a little bit of dreaming as I imagine the possibilities.  Yesterday, I managed to find a few minutes to wind a skein of two-ply yarn I spun nice and thin.  I am a bit clumsy at this sport still and I know not the details of what it is “supposed” to be, or what the skills of a refined spinner even are.  When I spin, its purely for the enjoyment.  It reminds me of why I am drawn to create in the first place.

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A long time ago I lived in a little Lincoln log cabin in North Carolina.  For a spell of time I had no car, no job, and not much to do out there.  I can only imagine how much crafting I would do if this was the boat I found myself in today.  It is funny how different my days looked.  I mean, it truly makes me laugh to think about how I chose to spend my days.  I did a LOT of exploring.  There were horse trails all around this 500 acre property and I explored every inch of them.  Alongside the trails were old, but restored buildings, and fallen down trees in spooky graveyards, and schoolhouses, and churches.  None of them actively used, but all of them clearly cherished.  It was a magnificent place to fall upon.  I remember spending a lot of time watching and searching for turtles; Giants surfacing occasionally in the clear blue ponds scattered around the property.  I would spend my weekends, when I had a car to borrow, pouring over books from the library about these prehistoric creatures, taking notes and pictures with my polaroid camera.  We didn’t have the internet, and really it wasn’t so strange not to at this point in time, so my scope of learning was thin, but satisfying.  I had no end goal for all that “research”, I just did it, out of curiosity.

And then one morning I remember waking up to the sound of an excavator.  I felt a desperate panic that started in my toes make its way to my throat as I came to and realized the sound was coming from the direction of those lovely armored creatures  humble home.  My feet hardly touched the ground as I made my way across the pasture and up the small hill to the digging site.  Tears burned tracks in my cheeks when I discovered from behind a curtain of kudzu that the pond was already demolished, with no end in site.  I stood there frozen for a month waiting for it to stop; for those metal jaws to slacken.  Eventually they must have because at some point I found my self staggering out in to the open.  Cheeks stained black from wiping away the sorrow with muddy hands, I walked across the draining soil and assessed the damage.  My heart pounded as I stepped over muddy carcases, cracked and oozing.  Some were clearly suffering, others already gone.  Desperate for a way to fix it, I shot home, hurdling bales of hay behind my blurry, raging eyes.  I grabbed a shovel and a bucket from the shed, pulled my barn boots over my mud caked toes, took a deep cleansing breath, and a good shot of determination then I headed back to the war zone.

I managed to unearth three turtles that morning.  It was terrifying, and I questioned the need for this.  These were very much alive, and very much of the snapping variety, and I was nothing if not scared out of my mind.  One by one I drug those muddy beasts about a half a mile away, to the next pond I knew of, and dumped them in.  I’m quite sure I never stopped crying for the tasks entirety, making the whole mess that much more difficult to accomplish.  By noon, I collapsed on my front porch.  Behind the veil of morning glories and Carolina jessamine I ate a pint of ice cream, dried my tears, and took out some embroidery.  I stitched all afternoon on the back of a jean jacket, making up the stitches as I went along, not even imaging that there were real, actual stitches and directions that existed to be followed.  I intended on adding a bit to that jacket whenever the mood struck me, as the years went on.  I never did, but I still have it.  And I suppose it’s not too late.

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picture taken many years later but nothing has changed except the season

I think about all the crafting “adventures” I have tangled my wrists in over the years.  Really, there are so many it makes me laugh.  An episode from every stage of life.  I have never woke up to find myself an expert at any one of them, they are more of a passing thought; Something to keep my hands busy, something to breath into when the day gets long.  It is like a beer on a hot day.  It just feels right.

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