contentedly packing weft
into a long, narrow
doing all I could to
'em-blue-en' the smoky skies
with my yarn--
I'd be able to show you
long narrow tapestry object
but obviously, not yet)--
but a text to let me know
that the Milkweed seed harvest had begun
at Thorn Creek Native Seed Farm
and if I wanted some stalks,
it would be a fine time to get them.
and other people's compost.
I grabbed some
secateurs and a mask
(even though people said
my hand made covid mask
wouldn't help my lungs against this smoke,
it --the mask-- did help my psyche),
and hopped in the truck.
at the best of times,
so it took a moment or two
for my legs to remember
their clutch/gas pedal coordination
(my neighbors laughed
as I stuttered out of the driveway
in the wee, mossy pick-up),
but it doesn't take long
to recall even long-ignored skills.
does it take more than a few blocks
to get out into the
weirdly beautiful Palouse hills.
I had gathered enough
to keep me engrossed
works best when the stalks are quite fresh
I've been at it for the better part of every day--
(that's me walking home
from the Farmer's Market
soaked and content)--
(Magic Medium as base layer
and Somewhat Slanted Hoodie on top)
and set up shop out in the woodshed.
cool, damp, autumnal,
and very comfortable.
After peeling the outer/inner bark
(starting at the bottom
and using my palette knife to
get things going),
I lay each out strip and,
starting somewhere in the middle,
gently scrape away the outer bark
to reveal the white fibers beneath.
A shell works perfectly for this,
as does a palette knife.
I slowly pull it away,
in the other direction.
The outer bark generally has
shorter lengths of fiber
that didn't come with that first pull
so I do the same thing
with the ever shorter bits
until each strip is spent.
and 10 or 15 stalks later,
I might have
15-ish grams of fiber.
Note: these photos show a particularly abundant stalk.
Each is different.
another week's worth of stalks
in the pile.
And I'm glad.
when individually and collectively
we are all trying to cope beyond coping,
and everything feels balanced on a knife point,
it feels more important than I can say
to take my entire life down a notch,
and practice the revolutionary life skill
of choosing to allow myself
(with no plan, intended use or purpose),
to be delighted, fulfilled, and soothed
by the act of gathering fiber,
a strand at at time.