Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Monotonous days and the comfort of colours

Danger of failing!
 The flat I moved into a year ago was freshly painted for my arrival. Fashionable, uniform grey. Pale grey walls, richly textured carpeting - but grey. It all looked fine in spring and summer sunshine. I didn't care too much about the coronavirus lockdown then, because I could walk for miles outside in luminous daylight and when I came home, stretched and content, the rooms still glowed with the long days' sunlight of Scotland's northerly latitude.
South Haugh

Now we're in another near-lockdown, I've been feeling more caged. More restricted, more morose; oppressed by the monotony of grey days. I miss seeing family. I miss seeing children! Their vitality... their innocent curiosity... the full bloom of their faces. I define myself as a mother. And as a writer. So, add to this some significant writing rejections and it's no wonder I've been suffering a bit of existential angst. 

Trying to find a path

Ah, existential angst! But this isn't a post about the meaning of life. This is a post about Covid-19 and ways to make meaningful the vacuous lockdown days when you're classed as more vulnerable to infection because of age and health conditions. Pacing grey streets in grey rain hasn't quite the same appeal as in the lighter months. Even my camera doesn't like getting wet. What to do? What to do?

I sent two poems off to two really valuable university projects which are collecting creative responses to the Covid pandemic. More on this another time. But for now, here are the website addresses - Aberdeen Uni Lockdown Lore Collection Project and Universities of Plymouth and Nottingham Trent University (Thank you to Federation of Writers Scotland newsletter compiler A.C. Clarke for this information) This still left long, repetitive days.

You wouldn't think the answer for me now would lie in a crochet hook and wool. A life-time of leftover wool. But at this moment, it does. 

It started with a simple chain of six stitches and an end of wool I bought to make a cardigan for a grandchild. Going round in circles, one stitch after another like walking - this perfectly represents for me the endless circling of my thoughts and actions in this grey flat. But now, my fingers are comforted by the textures, my itchy mind is lulled by the repetitive action, and each new colour brings with it memories of baby clothes (mint green - before we knew if she'd be a boy or a girl!) primary school jumpers (strands of grey and navy!) and even the remnants of the vivid yellow wool I bought to crochet a Pokemon amigurumi!

Small beginnings

There isn't a pattern - you could say that about existence, anyway - and sometimes I've incorporated unintentional undulations because I've been over-generous when increasing stitches as the rounds get bigger. It doesn't matter. I tried crocheting with two wools at the same time - red and yellow. It didn't work out the way I hoped, but that's okay, because life's like that, isn't it? 

It's four feet in diameter now. (Mathematicians can entertain themselves in these grey days by working out how many rows that is, and how many stitches there might be in that circumference!) I'm going to keep going till it's big enough to have a one-foot overlap on each side of my double bed. 

Four feet diameter now

It's far from perfect, and it even looks a bit like an archery target, but it's the embodiment of my experience of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown. It's kept me warm while I've been crocheting it - like a big fat cat on my lap (which makes me remember Nicola Sarah Jane, Fat Belly Jones, Raisa, Micha and Willow) and it'll keep me warm well into the years ahead. However many or few there may be. And whatever it looks like, I'll treasure it because it's imbued my monotonous days with reminiscences and the comfort of texture and colours.