It’s been a long winter and we’re now a couple days into spring. I know I’ve written before that my mother always had something she was working on, knitted or crocheted, over the winter, insisting that she didn’t want the months to pass without something to show for it. Well, she was raised a Presbyterian so it was hard for her to believe that the devil wouldn’t find work for idle hands. And I’d like to think that I know that important things can happen in the mind, in the imagination. The winter passes, an extended essay is written, books are read, friendships are maintained, relationships with my children, my grandchildren, my beloved husband. But I am my mother’s daughter and yes, I am glad to have something to show for the months inside, near the fire, while rain or snow fell, or the nights were long and dark. Working on this quilt was like working with stars, a dusky sky (the sky at 5 in winter, sun just down), cold water, the spirals taking me into deep thought, shell buttons catching the light. I cut the last threads half an hour ago.
I love the poems of the late Robert Francis. They have a quiet practicality and are observant in the best way. Here’s one for the end of winter, for blue and all its manner of colour, of mood. I’ve seen those rows of hills, the water, ice, and his bluejay is a cousin at least of our Steller’s jay, the one who shouts from the post just beyond the window.
Winter uses all the blues there are.
One shade of blue for water, one for ice,
Another blue for shadows over snow.
The clear or cloudy sky uses blue twice-
Both different blues. And hills row after row
Are colored blue according to how far.
You know the bluejay’s double-blur device
Shows best when there are no green leaves to show.
And Sirius is a winterbluegreen star.