Wednesday, March 04, 2009

in like a lion

The wooden-bristled hairbrush in my hand finds a snarl in her long blond hair and my child screams mercilessly, stomping her feet and raising voice to a high-pitched shriek. She falls to the floor dramatically and howls that she needs an ice pack for her wounded head. I tell her to put her boots on, as she is already late and the others are waiting for her in the car. She gets herself up to go look at her head, to make sure she is not bleeding, to check to see if her tears are big enough, and then grabs violin, lunch, books, hat, coat, and bangs her head against the door in frustration—she’s not left even a finger free to grab the doorknob, and again she must rely on me. Throughout, she speaks her protest with increasing volume, she cannot carry all these things and her mother hurt her hair, and she cannot believe she is so wrongly treated. I open the door and stand outside like a doorman, until she is down the first three steps then I go back in the house, close the door, and turn the bolt lock.

I Have. Had. It. It’s not even 8 a.m.

A cold morning. I’ve been left with a list of things to do, problems to solve. There is a parent meeting tonight and I must attend. I HAVE A WRITING DEADLINE and this is my last “full” day to work on it. Fury is not a good way to write, for me—I would fight the fury in order to write.

I stomp my own feet to my closet, where my fiber arts projects are waiting in a tote bag. A week ago I fused loose layers of brightly colored wool into a rectangle of fabric—handmade felt. The colors blobbed instead of blending. I’d hoped to copy my daughter’s bluebird finger puppet, created by her long-ago kindergarten teacher. Last night I found a surprise bag of curly mohair locks, hand-dyed in varying shades of blue— I added a layer of blue curls onto the “failed” fabric, making it more perfect than I could’ve envisioned. But it’s not a bird yet. I grab the fabric bag, pencil, paper and scissors, and the original puppet. I turn on NPR, and sit at the table to trace each of the pieces onto paper. It’s an ingeniously elegant design, not “cute” but quite bird-like. I can copy the shapes without disassembling the bird.

After cutting the pieces, I needle-felt the cut edges of thick felt, so the bird will hold together well. Needle-felting requires rhythmic STABBING deeply into a foam pad—it’s an aggressive craft, perfect for the morning. I place the cut-out pieces into a project bag to take to tonight’s parent meeting, and I walk through the supply shelf to find thread, pins, a needle. I tuck the rest of the fabric away—first, the prototype must be made.

From aggressive crafting, then, to meditative crafting, which would be the spindle. It pulls all things together, truly. I blended a dozen “rolags” of wool last night while waiting for the workman to test for a gas leak in our building. I must’ve been Very Worried because the wool is airy, periwinkle blended with silver gray and a bit of blue mohair. This morning I walk through the living room, twirling the spindle and watching. The spindle crafts yarn more slowly than the wheel, so I can examine the yarn at each spin, to make sure I don’t “overspin,” as I usually do. A fuzzy, barely-spun bulky yarn. I stop with one rolag. That’s enough for now. Perfection is waiting for me, in a wooden bowl on the counter, for a word-break when I need it.

And now I’ve had a typing warm up and it’s time to open those essays again, and work on school work.

Things go well. Making crafts for Easter baskets and gifts: nests with robins’ eggs, and eggs with felt chicks. And maybe bluebird finger puppets, if the pattern seems as easy as it looks. I’ll post a photo, soon.


Lisa B. said...

Isn't it amazing and wonderful how wool can calm us in so many ways? :)

Rock in the Grass (Pete Grassow) said...

you're such a girl!

birdlady said...

Oh, Denise, you are so real! I love your writing. Don't lose your dream of writing and knitting socks!!!