The season of death

Just a quick post to let you all know that I’m not dead…yet.  I’ve been doing a LOT of spinning, in addition to a bit more plant dyeing.  Over this past weekend I conducted my first experiment with dyeing unspun fiber: Corriedale cross and naturally variagated Blue-Faced Leicester, with hibiscus and mint, respectively.  (It was a success.)  I’ve also created my first successful art yarn (Halloween-themed) and I’ve been working on my new fiber blog, which I had hoped to be debuting by now; the intro post has been written, but the layout is taking a bit longer than anticipated. 

A week into September and two weeks before my birthday, it continues to be disgustingly hot.  Not by East Coast standards, mind you, but still.  Today I braved the heat in order to trudge over to Dyelots, and came back with more of the Leicester roving, along with some Gotland and Polwarth, two packets of Jacquard acid dye (my first venture into this! I had originally planned to use plant dyes exclusively, but there are artistic effects I’ll need to combine both types to achieve–and besides, why should I limit myself?), plus a surprise gift from my generous and talented friend Janis, the proprietor: a few types of fungus and lichen that produce brilliant colors, and some eucalyptus bark.  She says I’m turning into quite the alchemist, with my plant dye experiments (which, from a spiritual perspective, is rather apt for me).

But even though I’m not dead, and even though the heat persists, the season of death is upon us.  The Hunt begins to awaken, and I can feel its first stirrings.  One of our cats–Sassy, our 16 year old Maine Coon–is ailing.  She has been losing weight steadily for a while now, and has swollen pustules under her arms.  This morning I lifted her, and she felt weightless, like a hollow husk.  She hasn’t been eating and over the past couple of weeks her eyes have begun to look hollow.  I’ve debated taking her to the vet, or having the vet come to her, but at her age I have to wonder how much effort on my part to prolong her life further, at this point, would be for her and how much would be for me.  I got her when my daughter was six; she was with me for an entire era of my life, and beyond it.  I’m not ready to lose her, but I never will be, either.

She likes to sleep in the bathroom, where it’s cooler in this heat, and Jo and I have both taken to checking to see if she’s still alive when we go in there.  I’ve begun to be haunted by the knowledge that her death is imminent.  Our animals have a tendency to die around our birthdays, towards the end of September.  (We had both been secretly afraid it was going to be Corbie, this year, but he’s doing a lot better.)  But it’s not really because of our birthdays; it’s because the Hunt is passing through.  It’s a good time to die, the season of death.

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8 thoughts on “The season of death”

  1. Spinning is looking more and more interesting as I see you write about it. I have this urge to get a hold of a drop spindle and to try to teach myself. I’ve got plans for hand-spun yarn but I have to get other things around before I take a crack at it.

    I am very sorry that your kitty is poorly. It’s a very hard thing to think about. One of my friends had to let his kitty pass on just yesterday. It does seem as though the season has turned towards the passing of souls. I’ll keep you in my thoughts. *hug*

    1. Thank you! *hugs*

      Spinning is an amazingly fun and relaxing activity, and I highly recommend it. Pick up a copy of Abby Franquemont’s book Respect the Spindle; that, a drop spindle, and some roving (pick something easy to draft, like Shetland) should be more than enough to get you started!

  2. I’ve been doing quite a bit of spinning myself. Working on a lace shawl in a dark blue angora goat and wool mix. Was the dyeing of the unspun fiber difficult to manage? I would be concerned about the increased potentiality of it felting in that loose state. I’ve only done dyeing with already spun yarn.

    I hope it cools off soon for you. It finally started to here about 2 weeks ago and my brain fog has lifted and my energy returned. I love the fall too! I feel more alive during this time of year (I’m a fall baby too). I’ve always felt that autumn is a good time to pass into the next world as well.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty. How’s she doing? Did you get her looked at by the vet? I’ve gone through that myself a few times now with pets and it’s painful. Their lives are so much shorter than ours and I wish they lived longer. It can be painful to know what the right decisions are. I’m glad to hear your dog is better though. Has he been released from his confinement?

    1. Working on a lace shawl in a dark blue angora goat and wool mix.

      Oooh, that sounds really pretty!

      So far, so good with dyeing unspun fiber; I haven’t felted anything yet, and this weekend I’ve dyed some Polwarth with blackberries and some BFL with Jacquard acid dye. (Yes, I’m experimenting with the chemical dyes now too.) I do have a good mentor, my friend Janis from Dyelots, who has given me lots of tips and a handout. Dyeing the fibers before spinninng them gives you a lot more options, such as mixing the colors whie spinning (one of my favorite techniques.)

      Sassy’s actually doing a little better; she started eating a bit more this week and is more activve again. I’m still not sure I’m going to put her through the potential trauma of being poked at by the vet though, at her age. She still has the growths under her arms, but I’ve seen older animals with those before; it may not be a life-threatening thing. Corbie is partially out of confinement and the vet is coming for a check up with him in about an hour.

  3. I know what you mean–I will never be ready to lose my cat, Melodi. She’s been with me through alot.

    Glad to see you aren’t dead though! 😛

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