I love the way this summer is turning into a season of knitting and cooking.
Even as a small child I knew that I loved to create things: I sewed wall quilts and knitted woolen mittens, drew paper-dolls and followed the American Girls Handy Book for further inspiration. It didn't trouble me then, as it sometimes does now, that most of my crafts were of a decidedly feminine nature -- that I was reproducing, in the late 20th century, the same tasks that my great-grandmother would have learned as a girl in the late 1800s.
Now, I can point to any number of theories of gender role development to explain why I was drawn to knitting and cooking instead of heavy machinery and archery; why I still take more pleasure in the so-called domestic arts, and would rather not think too much about my computer's specs or my bike's components. Yet, whatever form it takes, I know that I am following an older desire to create that women and men have equal share in. I am speaking of the pleasure in one's craft, and of the delight of adhering to a technique so well as to be able to improvise from it. I am also speaking of a sort of physical act that cannot be replicated by what I am doing here, at my screen, typing and pushing words and images around. I yearn for the tactile, the colored, the savory and fragrant. And so my knitting -- ah, fiber! -- and puttering around the kitchen here, and hikes to find wildflowers, and trips to the market.
The yellow of this lace shawl echoes the evening sunlight here in Umbria, the fuzzy bodies of bees and wasps, and the inside of the bell peppers that we stuffed for dinner the other night. Half-finished, the shawl is still caught up in its creation, still evolving and revealing itself -- not unlike this season, these days of summer's peak.
I want to dedicate this summer, half-fled, to creation in all its forms. I want to roll in the grass with pagan delight and visit old Roman temples without a tour book. I want to taste sweet new wine and discover new ways to wind a ball of yarn. I want to dance to samba music and plan long expeditions in the hills. I want to live.
Here's to summer and to yellow lace and to all of the jubilant acts of creation which the season inspires in us!