It snowed today. Well, ok. It thought it was going to snow today and the clouds half-heartedly dropped a few flakes down as scouts to see if it was really worth the effort of producing a metric ton. Fortunately, Mother Nature decided to move on to other things. I’m glad she has a short attention span. I’m not ready for winter.
I have to confess that I mutter, and whine, and complain about winter. I really do hate the cold, mostly because I’m old and creaky and my joints let me know that they don’t like the cold. There are any number of ways they could choose to do it but mostly they just choose to ache. And if they are not actively aching they are thinking about it. In the mornings they like to let me know that they would prefer lazing around in bed, thank you very much, by refusing to bend. But because walking kind of depends on a bendy knee if I don’t want to look like Frankenstein’s bride, I force my will upon them which only makes them complain loudly and I walk around like an old lady until they reluctantly decide to comply.
But I also love winter. I love sitting all warm and cozy in the house with a hot cup of tea watching cars shivering by. I love looking out my front window and being dazzled by the sun on fresh snow. I love watching the birds at the feeder and the squirrels, by now little balls of fuzz, hopping around oblivious to the humans walking by bundled up in scarves and hats and puffy coats, their breath steaming in front of them. Sometimes I think the animals must look at us all wrapped up against the cold and think, “Amateurs!”
I love blizzards, not the aftermath, but when the snowflakes are rioting across the lawn and throwing themselves at the window. I love watching the gentle snowfalls when the flakes are as big as saucers, heavy and wet, muffling all the noises of living in the city. I love walking at night through the silence of a snowfall imagining what it was like for the first people who never had streetlights that cast a yellow glow over the falling snow. I love the faint hissing sound of snowflakes piling up on each other until they cover my boot tops, making me wish I had not tucked my pant legs in because when I get home there is going to be a little pile to clean up after. And actually, I love that too.
I love watching dogs go insane in the snow. I love them burying their noses in the cold stuff, watching a little pile collect on top of their little licorice nose, and then the snuffle as they shake their bodies. I used to love going to the stable first thing in the morning when my daughter worked there. The barn cozy with the warmth of the horses bodies and their whinnies of greeting when we opened the door.
I love winter because of all the possibilities available to wrap around myself. Because of all the woolly goodness of a handknit. Because of the comfort of a pair of handknit socks on feet that generally never feel warm. Because the feeling of wrapping myself in a handknit sweater never gets old. I love my handwarmers even though they are starting to look like moths have been at them. I love my alpaca-lined mittens because I didn’t need a pattern to make them and they are warmer than any store-bought pair I have ever owned. I love my felted slippers. And I love the idea that I can make more.
I recently found a pattern book that I had thought I had lost years ago in one of my many moves. It is an old Paton’s bazaar knitting book, oh not that the patterns are bazaar (even though in this day and age some people would look at you like you were some kind of weirdo if you showed them what you were knitting), just that they were meant as quick and easy knits to be sold at bazaars. I still love the poodle toilet roll cover. Not that I would ever make one but there is just something so kitchy about it. In the book is also a pattern for slippers. The slippers my Mum used to make us when we were small (and, Sue, if you are reading this you will know the ones I mean). They were like pixie slippers, or elf slippers. The cuff was pointy and curled ever so slightly over. I seem to remember having a pair of bright yellow and green ones. I think someone else had bright red and green. We had a pair every year.
I look at that pattern now and think about how many things my Mum made us when we were growing up. She sewed things on an old sewing machine from the ’40s. I think it was just shy of being a treadle machine and when I look at mine I wonder how I could ever survive without a built-in button holer. And my machine is over 20 yrs. old. I got it when I had my first child and since it still works well have never replaced it. She knit our mittens, our scarves and, I’m sure, our sweaters although I have no real memory of that. She subscribed to Stitchcraft and I can remember leafing through them and wondering at the various things that could be made by your own two hands. And I look at this slipper pattern and I think I’m going to adjust it to fit a pair of adult feet. Winter is coming and I’m going to need something warm in order to make it through.