Saturday, 14 March 2015

Our Lady of the Lost and Found

Recommended Reading
Recommended Reading(thanks Alvaretta!)

I lost my hat, Flower Garden.  

Double-Knit Alpaca and Silk Hat named Flower Garden

My room-mate Tom and I were out for a Sunday walk in Odell Park, one of Fredericton’s finest treasures.  
Odell Park in Winter

Nugget, one of our finest treasures, was with us, of course.   
Nugget in Winter

Unfortunately, none of us took our snowshoes.  (Just picture little Nugget in snowshoes.)  

Dog in Snowshoes

That was okay for the first third and the last third of the journey, but that middle third, where you climb over the Backbone of Fredericton, was hard going.  We should have had snowshoes.  Anyway, it took us an hour and a half to complete our usual trek which takes an hour in the other three seasons of the year.  
 Odell Park in Summer

The next morning as I was preparing to go out the door for my morning swim at the Y, I could not find my hat.  My brand-new hat, Flower Garden, double-knit with alpaca and silk wool. Warm.  Expensive.  Made by my own hands.  I was upset.  I checked with my room-mate and Nugget.  No leads.  I decided to head back to the park and search for my precious hat which I must have removed when I got warm trudging through the woods.  We had left the park the previous day in late afternoon, and it was only 10 am on a Monday morning, so I figured there would not be many people at Odell, and even fewer Alpaca Hat Thieves.  This time I took my snowshoes, my walking poles, my dog, the leash, my cellphone, an inferior hat….
Snowshoes, Walking Poles, Nugget, Leash, Cellphone, Inferior Hat

After parking my truck and unloading all my gear, I started toward the trail to retrace my trek of the previous day.  As I passed the sliding hill, I encountered Jon, Fredericton’s favouriteManny”, and his four little charges.  I told him my tale of woe as he loaded the four children into his two strollers which he somehow hauls in tandem using a sturdy harness which fastens around his waist.  They had not seen my hat.  
A Manny's Dream
Not Jon and Not His Stroller

I hit the woods carrying all my gear.  No need for the snowshoes yet.  I continued to mourn the loss of my hat as I tramped up  the path.  What was the dollar value of that hat?  How many hours did I spend knitting that little black number?  Did I have enough alpaca and silk left over to make another?  Although I had made 52 hats in the last 3 weeks (no exaggeration), I rarely make anything for myself and I had grown quite attached to the warmth and softness of my Alpaca Accessory.  
Hats of all Colours and Sizes 
($10.00 each!)

Fancy Hats for Babies who Like Pink and Grey 
($10.00 each!)

As the park was quite empty of people, I broke the law and allowed Nugget to travel off-leash.  Besides, I was overloaded with gear and having her on-leash would have been an added impediment.  And I had forgotten the poop bags, so every time she defecated, I used my snowshoe as a shovel to fling the “Poop-Nuggets” off the path.  Another law broken.  Please don’t report me. 

Regulation Poop Bags

At about the 15 minute mark, just before the wooden bridge, just before the steep ascent over the backbone of Fredericton, there, hanging on a tree at the edge of the path was my blessed Alpaca Hat!  I was ecstatic.  I gave a little yelp of joy, I sent up a prayer of gratitude, I smiled, I may have even laughed!  I dug out my cellphone and took a picture.  I was so HAPPY!!

Hat Sighted Hanging on Tree  by the path in Odell Park

As I walked to the edge of the path to retrieve my treasure, one of my legs sank through the soft snow right up to my crotch, if I may use that word.  No exaggeration.  One leg out, one leg lost.  It was an awkward moment, but I did not panic.  Much.  Nugget lurked around me and, after a bit of a conversation, I grabbed her collar, and together we got me out of the hole.  She weighs 26 pounds.  I'm not telling you how much I weigh, but it is CONSIDERABLY more.  But Nugget rescued me.  We rescued Nugget from the SPCA three years ago.  Payback.
Poor Picture of the Hole I Sunk Into

When I got out of the hole, I moved back to the groomed and solid path and used my walking pole to reach out and pick my hat off the tree.  I kissed it, turned around and started back down the trail.  I was full of joy and continued my gratitude prayer all the way to the truck.  We only had to stop once on the way to do the Snowshoe-Poop-Fling.

At home, as I backed into my driveway, I looked at the clock and realized I could still make it to the 11:30 class at the Y.  Great.  I unloaded everything from the truck.  No Hat!!!  Checked my pockets.  No Hat!!!  My God.  Checked the truck again.  No Hat!!  I could not believe it.  Had I dreamed all that Hat Rescue?  God.  Have you ever seen a 58-year-old woman nick-named Granite cry over a lost hat??????????

Sir Tom and Lady Granite

I put Nugget in the house and jumped in the truck.  Back to the park.  Only moments before ecstatic with joy, here I was near tears driving down the street.  In the parking lot, I met a woman leaving whom I had seen moments earlier in my elated state.  “I lost my hat,” I wailed at her.  She had not seen it.  I continued retracing my steps.  I met a man just coming out of the all-too-familiar woods path.  “I lost my hat,” I cried at him.  “It’s right back there,” he said, pointing over his shoulder.  Hallelujah!!  Have you ever seen a 58-year-old woman named Granite RUN to retrieve a hat lying inert on a snowy path?  There it was, at the site of the last Snowshoe Poop Fling.  This time I put it firmly on my head before taking one more step!!  

Lonely Hat on Winter Path

Until Next Time......

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Every Mitten Tells a Story: Dedicated to Peggy and Mike

Mittens in Nature

In September, while on a bike trip in PEI with 6 of my cycling friends,
Biker Gang (or Cycling Group)
we visited Prince Edward Island National Park, Greenwich, near St Peter’s in the eastern end of PEI. 
Prince Edward Island
As a Manic Mitten Maker, I observed and discussed the palette of autumn colors as I walked with Peggy, a real artist, through the forest, over a boardwalk, across the dunes, down to the beach and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. 

A Walk in the Park
I was thinking of how I could work those colours into a pair of mittens.  Peggy was undoubtedly thinking of how she could represent those colours and textures in a watercolour painting. 
Peggy's Painting Tools

In October, Mike, yet another artist and member of our Cycling Party, posted a photo of the Sunpoke Marsh, on his Facebook page. 
Sunpoke Marsh by Mike
I was intrigued by the colours and composition of that photo, and the name of the place----Sunpoke Marsh.  Downright poetic.  I owed Mike for a case of beer and he suggested that I pay him in mittens rather than cash.  Well, you know how I feel about cash and how I feel about mittens, so I was all over that deal!

Mike’s Mittens: Sunpoke Marsh
 In December, I got a special request from Peggy for a pair of mittens that would reflect our colour journey in the PEI park.  Well, I just finished them and here they are.  Remember, as you read this mitten, Every Mitten Tells a Story……

 Every Mitten Tells a Story

Start with the cuff as you walk through the woods, brown deciduous and green coniferous.

Observe the yellow reeds in the blue/green still water as you traverse the boardwalk over the marsh.

Climb over the dunes of fine sand that has occasional spurts of colour in the form of muted grasses and vibrant weeds.

Walk across the sand to the edge of the water, blue/green as it pushes against the beach.

Notice the white edge of every wave just before it breaks against the shore.

Lift your head and look toward the horizon to see the gradations of blue green in the ocean.

Now lift your eyes up, up into the cloudless blue sky.  See the seagulls up there? 

Until Next Time..............