One day the maple tree behind the house began to change colour and the next day another turned red. Out of all the seasons fall is my favourite, the days are still reasonably warm with enough sun and the nights are cold. One of the seasonal changes I missed living on the West coast was the leaves changing colour and this signals I can now bring out my knit blankets, sweaters, hats and scarves.
I sat outside on the little deck my husband made me, contemplating making a fire when eight deer walked by on their way to the neighbouring field for the night. ‘Just keep walking sweetheart, one of you is going in my freezer’ I said. Four of them looked at me as if to say ‘yeah, right’ and I had to concede out loud ‘you’re probably safe. Move along’. I watched them chew on some grass as I justified their demise in my mind (population control that turns into food) until it got dark.
I tucked myself in on the couch under a blanket and tried to remember how to crochet; I was giving myself a hard time because my grandmother taught me all these things but I have forgotten. I ran my hands over the blanket; some old lady who could probably knit blindfolded spent hours making this. My fingers fumbled over each knot, twist and hole as if it was braille and for a moment I was envious. Someone has created something beautiful, not another human being, which has lasted well beyond them. I can only knit and crochet in a straight line; straight not being quite accurate.
The blanket not only made me feel warm but the sentiment behind it made me feel special even though it was not made for me. I was beyond comfortable, it was as though heat was radiating outward and I felt completely at peace. I wrapped it tightly around my shoulders and pushed myself down into the sofa with a sense of being home, safe and loved.
Someone died and their ungrateful little shit kids cleaned out their house and dumped everything at the Dead Old Lady Store where I bought it. I felt as though I had rescued a masterpiece that only I could fully appreciate not only because of my lack of talent but because it was here and I could touch it. I hope someone this winter is cold thinking ‘mom used to knit warm blankets’ realizing what they are missing out on now that this blanket is no longer there.
All throughout human history we managed to cover ourselves and the people we care for with pieces of material. They not only helped us fend off sickness and shielded us from the elements but they hold woven stories of peoples of a particular time and place; the class distinction that came along with having something like this, the cost of materials, tools and talent but colours meant something.
I have no idea how someone came up with knitting, far beyond a series of knots and weaving, let alone all the fancy little patterns they create. I imagine she was sitting by a fire someplace and was bound and determined to not only to make something functional but pretty. Not long ago every home had some of these, a testament to ability, creativity and pride; making something that sets you apart from someone else. We modern women are no longer required to know how to make such things, the talent now lost to most of us because of gender progress and the reality that wealth is now measured in what we can buy and how those who still make their own things is mistaken as a form of poverty.
I let out a happy sigh; I could lay here for hours and fall asleep like this. I love fall, all the windows in the house were open but there I was content and warm when I had an epiphany: so this is what cuddling is but only done with a human!!!
My husband might be right; I might have been born an old woman.