I don't have any pictures, but I hope someone else will post some (or send some to me). My camera is in Wyoming with my family.
This has been a lovely weekend. A fiber festival. A keg party (no, really) attended by a delightful collection of knitters and spinners and bloggers and friends (coined, by blogless Marcy, as a blegger, thank you Marcy). My house was full to the brim with friends and fiber and good conversation and good beer and good times. There were wheels and wheels and a pile of fleeces by the side of the door.
I'm recovering now, though no recovery is really necessary, because for me, at least, the weekend was an utter joy. I feel bad about my house sometimes, but you know, it's at its best when filled to the rafters with wool and good people, and it makes me glad for all that I have. And truth be told, the weekend was a recovery of sorts itself. I miss my family, but these few days of unscheduled relaxation, this is the restoration I've been needing. I'll be a little bit more put-back-together when I see them next. And that can only be good for everyone.
This was my second spin-a-versary, as we've apparently been taking to calling it. Sheila Bosworth taught me to spindle at Cummington two years ago, after a few unsuccessful tries on a wheel the previous winter. Blogging started shortly thereafter, a by-product of my trolling of the net to learn about spinning and deepen my fiber knowledge. I confess to being a pinch obsessed with all this; I'm like that sometimes, but I've also been recovering from infant twin mommyhood, from infertility, from a couple of complicated journeys my life has taken me on, and which have brought me to this rather bright and sunny and wonderful place and asked me where I want to go next. There's a very conventional life out there that I could choose, and I'm certainly conventional enough in many ways. But the wool and the fibery life is an answer, for me, for the moment, to the question "what else?"
Moms of infants can lose themselves, and honestly, I encourage surrender to the musty, wonderful world of soft downy baby hair and milk and diapers and life in two-minute increments. I think moms of multiples lose themselves even further than most, and while I don't regret a minute of it, I am nothing like the person I was before. Today I'm starting from here, from this place of who I am now and all the history that's behind and all the disparate parts of my self (my self?...My selves). The wool and the blogging and my participation in this community has been part of the process of reconstitution of the selves of my life, and there have been moments when I've despaired of ever feeling whole again, ever feeling like me, or even knowing what that meant. I've been playing catch-up, sneaking in moments of self-development like I sneak a few stitches on a sock while waiting in line at the pharmacy. Busy-busy.
But this weekend was expansive, and it brought together people whose values make sense to me, who invest themselves in something as common and ancient as getting wool from shepherds and making it twisty and putting it into loops and then wearing it. People with passion that might be a little crazy, but who aren't afraid to admit to that and remember that life isn't all about what car you drive or what your house looks like. People who measure the world in a way that makes sense to me, and if that just shows that they're not any more normal than I am, and well, I suspect none of us thinks normal is a compliment, and that right there shows me I'm in good company.
There's sadness this weekend, too. Too many people I know are wrestling with their own private heartbreaks, and there were moments when I breathed loss in the air at the festival. This Cummington marked too many remembered tragedies and too many fresh ones. It is, after all, a weekend of memorial here. Communities are complicated places with webs of relationships that flex and stretch in ways that aren't always comfortable. But this weekend drove home, even more than ever, why I want to do the work to be a part of it, and why I hold the joy and the sadness of those in my life, together.
So here I am, in my happy, wooly house, feeling the remembered buzz of the humming wheels and the laughter and the friendship. I'm doing laundry and putting the dangerous and fragile tools away in preparation for the children's return. But I'm holding on to the shimmering vibrations left in this room and the joy of it, and I'm remembering that there is a world, however far-flung and complicated, to which I can bring a self that is, as near as I can see, just about whole. That there is a world in which the simple, long-remembered motions of drawing up to a wheel and starting to treadle helps to make the stories and jokes and confessions and boasts spin on with the hum of whirring axles; one where the things that don't matter really don't. A community that is by necessity distant and separate from quotidian reality, but one I love even a little bit more than I did before.
So thanks for coming. Thanks for being exactly who you are and expecting nothing less from anyone else. And if you weren't there, know that you were missed, and know that when I say I wish you had been, I mean you, with all your complications and contradictions and confusion. But thanks for bringing those things here to my virtual living room too, and I hope we'll sit our wheels or our needles or just our chairs nearby one another soon and have a chance to catch up. And you'll remind me again who I am, and who you are, and how much more there really is in this crazy old world that sometimes gets so narrow. So thanks. Just thanks.
Next year, more room for chairs, though, in the real living room. I'm just saying.