Midday has struck … and moved on, and I’ve only just hopped out of bed. Oh dear! But it was so lovely and something that happens very rarely round here. And there are a whole bunch of reasons why sitting in bed with the fan whirring in front of me, crochet in my hands, Pakkun beside me, and morning coffees delivered by Julian, was the perfectly right thing to do this morning.
Noah is away … so no driving him to town first thing. Julian was away yesterday and I worked an evening, so yesterday was one of those super busy, go-go-go days. Outside is a little cool and grey, and the rain is tippetty-tappetting on the tin roof – such a relief from the relentlessly hot, sunny and steamy days we have had this summer – I swear I’m back in sub-tropical Brisbane most afternoons! And after plodding away for hours with a very long fine chain, followed by row after row of dense double crochet, I am finally up to adding fabulously colourful rows of treble crochet to the cardigan I simply had to make so that I could wear it every day for years and years to come.
You see? Staying in bed until midday was the perfectly right thing to do this morning.
It’s A Good Vintage Cardigan designed by Fran Morgan for the Simply Crochet Mag. I spied it on Little Mountain Gnome’s instagram page and fell madly in love. I mean really, how could I possibly go through life without a colourful, stripey cardigan that looks like it was made up from your favourite granny blanket. It’s utterly gorgeous! So, despite having sooooooo many other projects at hand, I ordered the wool – truly, I love KnitPick’s Palette – Peruvian Wool – for their vast array of colours and simple sturdy texture – and impatiently awaited its arrival at the post office. When that box landed last Friday, well I sat there Friday night carefully counting that long chain over and over – finally employed the use of safety pins to mark off lots of 50 – until it was done. And then, of course, had that torturous first row where sliding the hook under the right two loops takes forever and requires the best of light. But now … well it’s that classic stripe moment for me. I stitch away thinking “Hmmm … what colour should I use next? I shall just keep stitching until I add that colour so I can see what it looks like … oh look at that! It’s lovely! Okay, what one next …” And so on, so forth, until yes, I have sat in bed with Pakkun and the whirring fan until midday.
But I do find that the process of sitting alone and quietly making with my hands provides such a good opportunity for reflection. Don’t you? So this morning, I was thinking about the year thus far – and do you know, it has been just as chaotic and drama filled as last year. This filled me with dismay the other night. By half way through last year, every time we encountered something ghastly or difficult – which seemed to happen with great regularity – we would all throw up our hands and declare “2018! What can we do but wait for that last calendar page to turn!” By October, that was quite a comforting thought. Silly I know.
And yet here we are again. Drama round every corner. Forehead slapping moments every week. Or is it? You see, I listen to the radio a great deal. That’s what happens when you drive the country roads for hours on end. And I’m especially fond of just two stations – ABC Classic FM for those quiet misty drives in to an early shift at the hospital or home from night duty. And ABC Radio National for all other times. There are so many good programs with intriguing – sometimes infuriating – topics and inspiring guests that I regularly have to note the program and episode so that I can finish it off as a podcast when I’m home. As for Phillip Adam’s late night live program – well, I’m well known for sitting in our front field, in the car for a long time after I’ve driven in at the end of a late shift just so I can hear the last bit of a discussion.
Yesterday, as I was driving home from town with Pakkun – she had an unexpected vet visit – that’s what happens when you have a pug – I was listening to A Big Country which interviewed a young farming couple – former circus performers Christy Shelper and DJ Garner, now avocado growers – and they were sharing the story of their life change and the things they were learning and loving. It was fabulous. At one point they talked about the “learning opportunities/challenges” you always have on a farm and how last year they learned what not to do this year and this year they will learn what not to do next year. I laughed out loud. Yes! This is exactly what happens here at Wombat Hill. And they both also spoke of the joy and excitement this learning brings, with DJ finishing up with “Because it’s just life. Life is learning.”
Yes! Yes! Life is rich and wonderful, repetitive and dull, beautiful and fun, sad and a struggle, incredibly rewarding and so often inspiring … it’s not really about the new page on the calendar. It’s about our resilience and openness to the gift of living and learning that appears at our feet every morning.
Things I have learned so far this year …
… dachshunds and farms don’t mix well
… nothing is out of the reach of a pug unless it is in a locked cupboard
… brakes fail, you have to repair them
… we share our land with deadly snakes. There’s nothing you can do about this
… chickens die
… we are surrounded by glorious beaches
… we live in a veritable paradise with wonderful local growers and farmers
… keeping a garden is hard work but endlessly fascinating
… there are so many beautiful thing to make
… I work with wonderful women
… our maremmas are endlessly lovely and funny
… we have wild orchids growing in our woods
… life giving rain does come and when it does it transforms our world
… my local bookshop is brilliant
See! It’s just life and it’s usually so good. Maybe I need to reinstate that old “let’s write down the good things that happened today” book.
It is Chinese New Year today. Another day of new beginnings. A day when I shouldn’t sweep because that may sweep away the good luck that will present itself. A day when we should definitely not utter negative words or that will cast a pall over the blessings that await us. A day when we should celebrate with good luck inspiring food. Light lanterns. Scare away demons. Welcome good fortune and health into our home with open hearts.
So, now that I’ve crocheted away my morning, I’m going to drive to town. Buy the ingredients for dumplings and spring rolls – traditional New Year food, hopefully find some fortune cookies, buy some red paper to make some lanterns, maybe even some wood to make a kumquat tree – that’s a traditional Chinese New Year decoration – just to add more colour and fun – and who knows, maybe some good luck too – to the life that awaits us this year.
And order a copy of Atticus Finch: a biography – ’cause I also heard the author Joseph Crespino on the radio yesterday too – and he was marvellous and his book sounds so thought provoking and so perfectly pertinent for these strange and often disappointing political times we live in.
Then when all this is done … I shall probably crochet some more. So good.