Sunday, April 28, 2013

spring shearing

Spring comes, and we all shed our pelts to bask in the sweet air and warming sun. Sheep too, with a little help, as we saw at the 26th Annual Gore Place Sheep Shearing Festival.

Gore Place, built 1806
Fair Day for a Fair
Using hand-forged manual shears, this veteran of sheepshearing contests shows us how it is done:

Ewe gives up her winter coat

Fipped to her back, the ewe went entirely limp, relaxed, and a I swear, smiled!  The Mindful Sheep took note that this might be a sustainable survival response to life's backflips -- and that the result might be to feel lighter, cooler, more comfortable in our skin!  Certainly a good thought after last week's surreal stressfulness.

Relieved of her fleece, the ewe happily rejoined the rest of the sheep, who were stylin' in their new crewcuts.

Spring Lambs

Being a festival of sheep and wool, there were herding demonstrations, spinning wheels, sheep products, and all manner of fiber crafts, as well as re-enactors of scenes from the American Revolution, Morris Dancers, local bluegrass and string bands, gardening demonstrations, assorted hand crafts from fudge to beeswax to wooden toys, and lots and lots of food! A grand time was had by all.    ~DXZ

Herding with border collies 

Put on the brakes!

hand spun, dyed, and knit!

Fleece, roving, wristlets

Hat, gloves .......

and felted sheep!

Friday, April 19, 2013

knitting for peace

The juxtaposition is mind-boggling.  City in complete lockdown.  No traffic on the high street.  There is complete silence, save for birdsong and the sound of the river. Then police sirens split the air, streaming east, towards Watertown, toward Boston.

Pretty much the whole world has heard about Monday’s horrific Boston Marathon Finish Line bombings(April 15).  By Thursday evening (April 18), photos of Suspect 1 and Suspect 2 had been released by the FBI.  A few hours later, police were chasing them.  Early this morning, Suspect 1 is dead, and Suspect 2 is on the run.  

We got the word about 6:30 a.m.: Stay home; stay inside; all business closed, all transportation halted. The latest report: as the suspects fled from robbing a convenience store, they may have dropped pipe bombs in the street.  There are an estimated 10,000 police, FBI, and military personnel on the ground.  Twenty blocks of Watertown - two miles from here - are under house-to-house search.

Cautiously, taxis have been allowed to start moving about Boston proper.  Hopefully they are taking stranded commuters home. Conditions can change at any time.  

It seems appropriate that this manhunt is taking place today, the actual anniversary of the Shot Heard Around the World, what we in Massachusetts celebrated Monday as Patriots Day (and the running of the Boston Marathon).  What surprised the British at the battles of Lexington and Concord was that the farmers fought back; that what should have been an easy display of superior force was routed and chased back to barracks in Boston.  

The British of the day had underestimated the determination and unity of the people of New England, a determination and a unity that lead to the American Revolution and the formation of a new country.

These two brothers have also underestimated New England and America. There is no doubt that the remaining brother will eventually be found; that fear will not rule the day; that speculation will not demonize the innocent.

The Mindful Sheep has been silent for a while as we slogged through the last weeks of Winter and waited impatiently for Spring.  Part of that time was spent watching the PBS documentary on the life of founding father John Adams . I had not known that Adams defended -- and exonerated -- the British soldiers accused of firing on civilians during the Boston Massacre. What a precedent!  Bostonians not  only having the “audacity” to act as an independent civil court against “the Crown” -- but also seeing that truth came out, justice was done. The rule of law (rather than the rule of kings) was a sea-change of profound consequence in the 18th Century.

So I think about the American Revolution, and John Adams, and two young men, lost and confused, and pray for the rule of law to prevail.  I have to break away from the news from time to time. The chaos, the waiting, the lack of information becomes overwhelming. I breathe deeply, pick up some knitting.

Knitting.  On a day like this.  What am I knitting for?  Well, what do we knit for?  Generally, for others.  To make them happy.  To give them comfort. Each stitch becomes that prayer, for the injured, the caretakers, the police; and yes, for these tragic young men.

Today: I’m Knitting for Peace.

Update at 6:25 p.m.
Safe at home, 3 miles from the “action.”  Sun is setting, lockdown is lifting.  Nothing yet resolved. Suspect 2 still on the run. Has he slipped the loop?

Update at 7:59 p.m.
“Fresh gunshots” and here it goes again.  Pops and bangs, sirens on the street.  Local news having a heyday.  This is about people, people.  Not some James Bond movie.  Peace.

Update at 9:28 p.m. 
Over.  Raining now.  Even the heavens weep exhaustion, relief, sorrow for this whole long week.