Knowing Hands

There is a crisp scent of Autumn in the air this early morning. I felt it as I arose from my bed and began to systematically close the windows throughout our large house. It was a couple of hours before dawn, and I wandered through the house quietly removing window screens and pushing the frames shut. The cool breeze which had been rushing into the rooms suddenly sank to the floor like a sigh. “It’s too early”, I thought to myself. “It’s only August for gosh sakes!”


Winter is the longest season where I live. The cold can come in and settle from October and stick around until early June. Although we have had traditional hot days this summer, the gardens have foundered and produced vegetables and plants that are small in stature. “The soils remained cool too long into June”, neighbors say.


Yet, it’s my hands that tell me Autumn is coming. More reliable than squirrels caching pine nuts or the full ripening of berries and fruit on the vine. I am the latest manifestation of all of my Ancestors, the thousands of peoples which lay woven within the warp and weft of my DNA. My Ancestors experienced all of the variations in seasonal change one can find in the historic landscapes on this beloved Planet. Someone in my line, probably many of them, created clothing to protect themselves and their loved ones with the coming of the cold winter months. I think most of my bloodlines came from the northern latitudes where seasonal changes could prove to be life or death. How do I know that? Because my hands engage in projects and activities my conscious mind knows nothing about….


I knit and crochet up a storm in the months of Autumn. I have for many years. I make hats, gloves, scarves, leggings, sweaters, vests and bed socks. Lots of them…. My hands can knit and crochet on their own. I don’t even need to watch what I am doing. I can converse on the phone or with other people, watch a movie or look at a landscape while riding in a car. My hands just simply know what to do and they drive me into a fervor of activity for weeks on end. I am not usually drawn to the craft until early October, but 2 weeks ago I found my hands gathering knitting needles and yarn. I began to knit a project for a head and neck covering, only to drop it into a basket with alarm…. What am I doing? I have so many other mediums to choose from for my creative expressions. Knitting is simply not one of those things I do until the change of season is upon me.


I laughed about it yesterday when shopping, I had brought the project with me for something to do. My friend, who has known my habits for decades, raised an eyebrow at me and said “You’re kidding, right? You are KNITTING?” I told her that it feels strange to me too. My seasonal clock is a bit off this year and something feels amiss. My hands speak, almost as a portent, of an early shift toward colder weather. I trust the intuition of my body….my ancestors are telling me something that might just prove to be true…an unseasonable early Autumn. Hmmmm. We will see if my hands speak truth…..

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