In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

rainy days

Two days of chilly rain remind me that the seasons do not turn upon our needs. Spring is happening out there, but on its own terms, which sometimes coincide with ours but sometimes not. In the midst of rain and wind the earth stretches and warms for its summer dance. The light grows longer, buttercups arise. The ferns unfold, and repair a broken patch of dead forest with their greenery.

Luckily we still have dry wood for the stove, library books to read, and jeans to mend.

I am not good at sewing, but I can patch a rip in a pair of jeans. It isn't false economy to keep Greg's old work jeans in repair. He's hard on his jeans, snagging them on this and that. And being six feet and five inches tall, and that mostly legs, he is such an odd size that Frenchy's does not have jeans for him. To replace the ones he wears every day would mean buying something new and not cheap. I'm being practical here, not romantic or sentimental.

My patching is inept and slow. I think of all the women of the past who have kept their household's clothing in good repair over years of wear and tear. I imagine they never sat down without a needle and thread in hand. I think of the fishermen mending their nets, of old farm wagons and machinery kept in service for decades. How, I wonder, did the act of mending become so out of date, the art become so lost?

The patched jeans have a certain something that new jeans lack, though I wouldn't go so far as to say exactly what that certain something might be. They are evidence that things both momentous and mundane are always falling apart and breaking. At some times -- in spring, for example -- the world goes about repairing itself, gracefully and on its own terms. With my uneven stitches I join the dance, however awkwardly.


Anonymous said...

I recall a story in my grade 3 reader about a little girl whose mom would sew creative animal- shaped patches on her dresses. In the 60s and 70s knit clothing became very popular (and inexpensive) and this is always more of a challenge to mend than cotton weaves. But there are still those things that can be mended as long as there are fingers that know how to sew.

Piecefulafternoon said...

I always had a mending day - it was announced a few days ahead of time so everyone could make sure their mending joined in the fun - and I would usually have enough to spend most of a day doing mending - it felt so good to get it all done. Of course sometimes there were emergencies that had to be mended immediately - and we still have mending day - just not as often since the kids are no longer at home.

Anonymous said...

My mother always had a basket of mending which she did as we watched I Love Lucy and other 50s shows. She was especially handy at darning socks.
She had one of those egg shaped wooden implements that you put in the sock and then weaved the hole. I have tried this and it is very difficult. Clothes are more poorly made today and of poorer fabrics. It hardly seems worth it to mend them - except for jeans of course.