of summer rains and winged things

About a year ago the kids and I found a large and impressively-vibrant poison green caterpillar while at the Aberdeen bus station. It seemed in a precarious concrete-laden scenario so we brought it home to observe its transformation (we stopped at Rite-Aid to buy a jar as we were on bikes and couldn’t carry it easily and safely). The little creature seemed rather frantic (as far as I can tell for an invertebrate), waving its body around and spitting out strands of silk. That very day it spun its cocoon on a procured branch we’d included.

How long do such transformations take? I hadn’t even had time to take a picture of the critter and try to identify it, so I could not look this information up. We waited and the alien-looking, precisely-formed bundle remained inert. When we found our new house carefully we moved the jar to a windowsill on our porch. I watched anxiously as weeks, then months trickled by. I began to be sure we’d messed up. Ralph or a guest occasionally ashed clove cigarettes into the glass even. I felt terrible about this. I began to think we’d done something incorrect that had killed the animal, but what? I thought of carefully slicing the cocoon open to see what the insect looked like mid-change, but I thought to myself What if, what if it was still alive, then I will surely have murdered it.

Today as I closed the porch windows against the first real rain we’ve had in some time I observed the glass where it has sat for so long and to my surprise, the cocoon had changed, split neatly one-third of the way along the carapace, vacant and mutely perfect like the cap of an acorn. I looked about quickly but of course, she must have made her escape in the many times we’ve had our door oppen. I wondered if this has been the brilliant white moth I’d seen a couple days before, simply beautiful, regal, on my porch railing. In any case although I felt a small sense of sadness I had not elected to screen the top of the jar that we might observe the miracle, I was so glad she was free, ephemeral, unhindered by our human meddling.

Pools of sorrow waves of joy / Are drifting thorough my open mind / Possessing and caressing me

I’m re-reading a favorite book of mine: The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (thank you Abi for giving it to me years ago!). A more perfect book for Kelly God-damned Hogaboom can simply not be found. I liked it so much I immediately went out to find her previous work, The Secret History, which was also excellent, but since two awesome things have to have a favored choice (kind of like would I rather make out with Mads Mikkelsen in his viking-beard-and-skirt or as the tortured expatriate relief worker with a tragic secret?), I’ve gotta say The Little Friend wins out.

I’m sorry, I have to take a minute to recover from those Mikkelsen image searches.

So anyhow, I love finding a book I can read over and over and over because it’s kind of rare. I felt this way about A Prayer For Owen Meany before Irving’s sexism became simultaneously too annoying and snore-inducing to weather.  I can still read the Lord of the Rings books over and over, yes with the snooty British professorial bit and the weird imperialism and omission of lady-agency and, well, dorkiness I suppose. We only own a handful of books on a tiny corner shelf my father built for me the year before he died. Books are one of the many, many things I don’t own in a long line of things I refuse to own because “stuff” terrifies me and besides, we’ve moved three times in a year and don’t own our home and I’m still (mentally and emotionally) semi-nomadic AND please, we have so many mouths to feed and maybe keeping a home-order is one way I cope with this. My children have more books than I do; mostly we rely on librarying up like no one’s business.

Today I took the kids to see Circus Gatti – the first time we’ve been to a circus in a handful of years. Held at our huge wooden stadium here in HQX it was one of those dissociative moments of thinking how fucked-up our world is but also being stunned at the beauty of it, twisted and all. The finale act two elephants performed and stood on their hind feet to booming Latin/urban hip hop and I felt conflicting and equally strong emotions: sick with myself I was supporting likely unethical animal-husbandry, impressed with the athleticism of the hardworking circus employees, unaccountably embarrassed by the socioeconomic markers of working class we continue to evidence (by being at the circus in the first place and being unable to afford all the trappings my kids wanted), blessed and amazed by my stunned and vivid children who shouted and ran about and bought what confectionary they could afford ($4 bought cotton candy) and performing somersaults on the bright green. Pheonix also knew way more about elephants and the training therein than I’d realized.  I sat comfortably on the wooden bleacher and held my son in my arms and felt dizzy from both the height and expanse of the stadium (I am slightly agoraphobic) and the mixture of my emotions and let’s face it, only a small handful of snap peas and a slice of cheese for breakfast.

Afterwards the circus emptied out more quickly than one could have predicted; the children took me to the nearby school playground and frolicked some more. I went back for the car (I only had use of it one half day this week) and when I got back sat patiently as the kids made their way to me (not at all promptly after I called). As a finale the Boy first did an impressive monkey-bar feat and then hopped down; when I clapped he beamed at me and pulled his shoes off the hood then opened the car door and buckled in. The children asked, “Where are we going now?” To the grocery store (where I let them pick out fruit, whatever they wanted). Then home, in the sunshine, together.

Narwhal-eriffic!

Blue, Ivory, Deep Red
It was torture not to blog one of my more recent sewing projects. I couldn’t chronicle it on the off-chance the intended recipients would see me do so on Facebook!

I don’t know why I like making baby buntings so much. Part of it is the size; no unwieldy amount of yardages to haul around. Suffice to say they are one of my favorite things to sew!

My Design Sketch, Pattern
I have taken to sketching my ideas first. If I was super-organized I’d have a notebook of all this; but, I’d rather sew than document.

Embroiderins & Bastin'
Ralph came up with the horn template. Which is pretty cool. It looks lethal. In a really soft, baby sort of way.

Tail
The tail is one of my favorite parts. I love all the free-hand (fins, embroidery) I got to do on this project.

Finished!
I knit a super-soft hat in Cascade 220. I tried to do a little chain-stitch and applique on the hat, but it sucked, so I removed it. Our new gas furnace is super-great for fast blocking.

Ye Wee Narwhal
Voila! Ready for some fierce, marine-themed snuggling.

Full Flickr set here; pattern review here.