Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Before Spring

Before Spring

The name of my monthly knitting group is Whiskyknitters, although I myself never partake of anything more muscular than pear cider when in attendance.  I have a long drive to the pub and besides, despite my Scottish heritage, whisky tends to render my pale visage redder than a longshoreman’s and make my arms feel long.  Doesn’t matter though, the conversation around the table is stimulating enough even for a teetotaler. 
We are a collection of women with interests as varied and divergent as the colours in a crayola box.  Just this week, while working on the back of a sweater and sipping my cider, I listened as the English professor spoke of needing to be home grading essay papers, the title of the assignment being, “What Can You Do to Make the World a Better Place”.  Boy, I’d love to read those.  I saw another woman actually get tears in her eyes as she spoke of the duck confit she’d finally mastered the previous week.  “It was just so beautiful”, she said.  She’s on to pancetta now.  One lady is planning to welcome two Angora rabbits into her household as she’s recently taken up spinning her own wool.  I see lots of Angora sweaters, and probably lots and lots more rabbits, in her future.  In our number we have a ukulele player, a woodworker, teachers, writers, singers, gardeners.  One woman has a doctorate in erotic literature, another has a flock of chickens.  It’s impossible to leave our monthly gathering without at least entertaining the idea of learning something new.  And honestly, what better time to do so than February?

A friend once told me that I am the sort of person who “hears things in the silence” which at the time I thought, frankly, made me sound a bit dotty.  But just now, this month, I think he may be right.  For the grey blanket silence of February is deceptive and if one listens closely one can almost hear the stirring of the earth. Though they now appear still as winter stone, already, deep within the maple trees there is a faint quickening of green, a longing to stretch their cold limbs up and out towards a warm blue sky.  We still have a few more weeks, but the murmurings are out there.  
  As Keats once said, “ he is awake who thinks himself asleep.”
Spring will be here soon.

In this “grand old poem called Winter”, as Thoreau so aptly phrased it, we are now in the final stanza.  Though still blustery and cold, in but a few weeks now, February will begin to loosen his grip on the land, one chapped finger after the other will start to give way, releasing the daffodil buds and waking the rose.  It’s the time of the year when I am the most anticipatory.  In the chilly air, I feel it.   Something is about to happen and I need to prepare.  These are the weeks to plan summer gardens, to rifle through untried recipes.  I want to learn something new, brand new, and now is the perfect time.
  Before the warm days steal all my hours and magic away my thoughts. 
 Before the arrival of Spring.

  I once knew a lady who took up tap dancing in her fifties.  No one but her husband was prouder than she when she took her place alongside the youngsters in her class for the graduation recital.  Though now well into her seventies, I’ve heard she still dances regularly.  What fun.
A dance class, a painting class.
  Yoga, or embroidery?  
In these few fleeting days that remain of Winter, what is percolating in your mind?  
What would you like to do this year that you’ve never done before?
Or, as the grand poet Mary Oliver once asked, 
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Doesn’t this look tempting?
How many classes would this require, do you suppose?


  1. How odd to think I feel the same way although we are still in the sweltering summertime, there is that about the night air presaging fall. Our summers are destructive to tender plants, so February brings the same feeling of impending change, of hope of clouds and rain and the renewed greening of our world. I feel the dormant energy in all living things around me sniffing the air for the coming of the breath of life.
    Meanwhile, I do my ironing and dream of bursting my shell like a new planted seed and savour the freedom of living again.

    Great knitting group you have!

  2. What a joy to watch then dance. Thank you for the memories.

    I am in the last chapter of my life at age 77. Last year I built a large log cabin on 58 acres. All the logs came off the place. Very exciting. Now I'm wondering "what next"? In my high school days I got the idea of homesteading in central British Columbia, Canada, When I was 50, I went up there on a 9 day pack horse trip into the area in which I had been interested in homesteading. The interest is still there. Do I dare?

  3. How I enjoyed the dancing clip.

  4. I don't think I'll ever be too old to dance!

  5. Oh how I would love to listen in on that knitting group. Spring is just around the corner; I see the signs daily. What would I like to do still? I will have to think on that one. I have done most of the things I have been interested in but I'm still kicking.

  6. I am going to look up that Mary Oliver poem right now Pamela - it sounds just right for our poetry group later this month.

  7. Dear Pamela,
    What an eclectic mix you Whiskyknitters are and how I would love to be a member, although my knitting skills are abysmal !!
    I think that I am about the only person I know who loves February ( actually, I love every month ) probably because my birthday is February 1st, snowdrops are one of my favourite flowers and snow just sprinkles magic on everything.
    We have been forecast magical snow tonight across London and the suburbs so Spring will have to wait a while. XXXX

  8. Loved seeing Ginger and Fred, I forgot about that movie but now will have to see the whole thing. You're lucky to have such a lovely group of people to spend time with. :)

  9. LOVE this post!!
    I have found it amazing how knitting can bring women from different walks of life together in companionship.

    Loving your book, read an essay each night but the winter essays are too few so I just reread them. I don't want to start on the spring essays until spring has sprung.

  10. Now that's dancing, what a pair. There won't be the likes of them ever again. I can knit, but sounds like an entertaining night, As for me I am waiting for some men to come and dig me out, can't see out for the snow. The door won't open with snow five feet behind it.


  11. Remember this quote? "Everything he does, she has to do backwards." What a gal! Always so much fun to watch.

  12. Your knitting group sounds delightfully eclectic in talents and interests. One new direction for me is writing poetry. Though raising angora rabbits for their angora sounds a good path too!

  13. And here I am , trying to control my urge to blog about how hot it is and how I long for cold weather. Which will be soon as we move away from here in about 2-3 weeks at most.
    That is one of my favorite scenes from that movie, big Fred and Ginger fans here :)
    besos, C

  14. So fun to see Fred & Ginger looking characteristically exuberant--thank you! And I hope that "Linenqueen" does indeed pursue her interest for it is never too late! You have given us much to ponder and reflect upon as we await a change in seasons...many thanks!

  15. Dancing through February would speed it along, I think. You have such an interesting group of friends. I'd skip the whisky and go for cider too.

  16. your knitting group sounds very eclectic and fun. I
    Have always wanted to learn to Tango, maybe one day.

  17. How many classes ? Some amongst your followers are unteachable .

  18. Oh, I just loved the clip of Fred and Ginger. No one dances like them....such effortless grace. When I came out of the anesthesia after an operation many years ago, I was moaning, "Fred, Fred". My husband asked, "Fred? Fred who?" And I replied, "Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers." I guess they are, and always will be, an intricate part of my unconscious! Love, love, love them!
    And all I can say is "Wow!" to linenqueen. What a woman!


I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!