Little Punkins

Although I’ve been making quilt squares in my spare time during the past year, on the winter evenings when dark arrives early, my perennial urge to knit returns once again. This inner prompting reminds me of the Catskill Mountain days in late winter so many years ago when I’d step outside one morning to find the night’s cool air had warmed and turned humid and my bones felt an ancient wisdom: maple syrup season had returned; time to tap the abundant maple trees for the watery sap that, when boiled down, turned into pure, heavenly maple syrup.

And so it is has become with knitting. This year the nudge arrived after Christmas when, coincidentally I found a delightful little book in my library titled itty-bitty hats by Susan B. Anderson. I took the book to lunch with my writing friend, Rita, one day and showed her the precious hats. She had just welcomed her first grandchild, Jake, and I wanted to make him a hat. Rita chose the “little pumpkin” hat.

One of the little hats below is for Jake and the other for a child in West Virginia I’ll never know. I’ll send the second hat along with several others I’ll make before spring to an impoverished area in West Virginia through a church mission project started several years ago by my friend, Carol, when she learned of a great need for warm winter coats, hats, and mittens by the children. Although Carol passed away more than a year ago, her church continues her wonderful project, now named “Carol’s Coats.”

On these dark evenings as I knit, ordinary time transforms to sacred as I mindfully thread prayers and love into the hats and feel deep gratitude: for Rita’s new grandson, for Carol’s kind heart and devotion to the project that lives on after her, and for the little ones who will wear the hats in West Virginia. I pray each child will be warm and happy and safe in our world. img_20170121_130458744

 

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About Mary Jo Doig

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I grew there in so many ways and today I'm a long-time editor for the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal, as well as a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site, another unique place in cyberspace. Then, next year, I’ll again be honored to be program chair for our Stories from the Heart national conference in Austin, TX. I have so many loves: first, my three children: my son, Chip and daughter, Polly, both in Virginia; and my youngest daughter, Susan, in Florida, and also dear family and friends. I must also include my cats Hilary (20) and Button (5). Sometimes I foster cats and kittens for the Humane Society, but Button prefers me not to. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. Now, all these years later, I believe I've sliced through the layers to reach the heart of my story, and am presently working on the final revision of my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life.
This entry was posted in Community, Gifts, Grace, Gratitude, Living Mindfully, Peacefulness, Poverty, Simplicity, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Little Punkins

  1. Lovely, Mary Jo. And I just put a request in that book at my library. Maybe I will make baby hats again for my sister’s store. Fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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