Today is Election Day in the US. Anticipation and stress fill the air as I’m driving to one of VT’s premier yarn shops to buff up their inventory of Bobolink Yarns. Winding through a small town, I see that political sign-wavers are out in force while voters slow traffic crossing in the crosswalks.
November is already a stressful time of year generally on the farm. The sheep are in three breeding groups, tripling the normal amount of portable-fence-moving labor. We are always cutting right to the wire about getting the sheep into the barn before significant storms hit, with cleaning up the detritus of the year and tucking everything in for storage and with the reality that we now must decide which sheep stay over the winter and which don’t. Everything must be done quickly, even in terrible weather. Moving fence on a warm July morning is a pleasure – picking up frozen fence in a late October sleet storm? Not so much.
I’m listening to a podcast as I drive, mainly to avoid the enless conjecture on the radio. The pod host has invited a therapist who talks about ways to cope with stress. She reminds us to spend time with our art, to do tactile things, to let go of pandemic guilt if we aren’t suffering as some are. These all go straight to my heart. I know that I need to go home and dye some yarn, but I’m too tired to feel artistic or motivated. How do I contact my inspiration on stressful days like today? I know I will feel better when I’m handling yarn. There’s something magical about wool for me – the scent and the sensation make me feel so good. And I know that I feel guilty. How could I be complaining in my head about the stress of having to dye some yarn when it’s pretty much the best job on earth? When I’ve spent the pandemic on a scenic farm? When I live in a state that’s got Covid mostly under control? But like you, I am apart from friends and family. I am without the social settings of sheep and fiber activities that feed the occasional social urges that I feel, even as an introvert.
I’m heading home, minus some yarn but with a bit of peace in my heart and some determination to keep going with this project. I’m going to dye a bit of yarn before I report to my Town Hall to count votes.