back in the swing of things

My alarm clock was set for 5:42 a.m.  Yep, 5:42.  That way, I could hit the nine-minute snooze button twice and get out of bed at 6:00 on the dot.  I had it planned out; it was just like every other work day throughout the season.  But I haven’t had to set my alarm since December so I triple checked to make sure it was done correctly.  Ensured that it was set for a.m., not p.m.  Adjusted the volume.  When I woke up at 2:14, I checked it again.  Still set.  Then again at 4:08, still set.  And at 5:36…well, I thought I might as well stay awake until the alarm rang.  Was I anxious that I would over-sleep or was I overly-excited to get back to work?  A bit of both.

At 5:42 a.m., I stepped out of bed and drank a cup of tea while I listened to the metronomic drip, drip, dripping of last night’s rainfall as it delicately pooled on the windowsill.  I wasn’t sure how I felt.  All winter, I looked forward to going back to work.  But I was also nervous.  Over the break, I had established (and comfortably settled into) a daily routine which was now being  disrupted.  I wasn’t sure what to expect out of my day.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I am someone who really appreciates routine and predictability.  It can be quite difficult for me to adjust to the unknown.  That’s particularly why I enjoy my job so much.  It terrifies me!  And not in any kind of logical way.  A normal person would think that the fear stems from the dangers or risks involved in climbing dead, hazardous trees.  Fearing injury or death is a pretty rational thing.  Except that particular fear rarely, if ever, comes into play for me.  Instead, I fear the minutes between waking up and setting foot onto the job site.  The unknown.  Once I see the tree I’m working on, I’m fine.  But those moments in between can be brutal.  Yet it’s part of my job.  I’m forced to face my fear on a daily basis, which does wonders for my self-esteem.

I don’t work as an arborist over the winter.  It’s really nice because it gives me an opportunity to focus on knitting and spinning and other hobbies.  Hobbies that may become part of my career in the future.  But the winter break also enables me to slip into the comfort of predictability.  I control how my day unfolds; what I choose to do or accomplish.  Which means that when something disrupts my routine, I’m not as prepared to deal with it as I should be.  I found myself in that very position this morning.  Playing over, in my head, scenario after scenario.  Uncertain of the new work day ahead of me.  As I sat there, sipping my tea and listening to vestiges of spring rainfall, time continued to tick away, regardless of my apprehension.  Anxiety couldn’t stop the clock.  I had to get dressed.

Dressing was an obstacle in and of itself.  An organized person would have gotten their clothes ready the night before so they didn’t have to scramble first thing in the morning.  I’m not that person.  I ransacked the basement dresser and gathered up just about every layer of clothing I could.  Underwear, check.  Long-johns, check. Chainsaw pants, check.  Undershirt, check. Long-sleeve undershirt, check.  Long-sleeve fleece shirt, check.  Hi-viz hoodie, check.  A couple neck buffs, check.  SOCKS! Dammit, I can never find my socks.  Ok, socks, check.  Then I did another check…of my weather app.  What kind of frigid tundra wasteland was I preparing for?  Spring is here.  It was already 7°C at 6:00 in the morning.  A few layers of clothing didn’t make the final cut.

After dressing, I went outside into the humid, misty stillness of the morning and got to do something I haven’t done in months.  One of my favourite parts of the work day.  I hopped onto my motorcycle and rode to work.  Riding to work does wonders for the mind and soul.  Exposure to the elements comes with the territory of being an arborist, and I love that riding my bike to work prepares me for the day ahead.  It forces me to experience the weather prior to arriving on a job-site.  The wind on my face provides that initial rush of excitement before climbing up a tree with a chainsaw.  It makes me feel alive.  It’s really hard to show up to work in a grumpy mood when I get to ride there on a motorcycle.  Despite my initial nerves, the day was off to a great start.

It only got better from there.  Oh how I missed it!  Some would call me crazy.  I spent the day in a swampy woodlot felling trees to create a trail.  It was wet.  My boots and pants were caked in mud.  My arms are covered in scratches.  My muscles ache.  And I’m still finding the tips of Hawthorns stuck in swollen pustules on the palms of my hands.  But it’s the most fun I’ve had in months.  I’m so glad I get to go back  again tomorrow.  And the next day….and hopefully every day for the remainder of the week.  So long as we don’t work too hard and finish the trail early.

Home was a beacon of light in the distance as I rode my bike back after work.  Sure today was a great day, but I was soaking wet and muddy, and part of the pleasure of the job is getting home to take off the work clothes and wash off the dirt.  Not to mention, I had some social media stuff to do once I got home.  Today is also Monday the 27th of March, which is the date I had set to announce the winner of my very first yarn giveaway.  The winner, Chris MacDonald (@chestnutfibres) was thrilled, and that made me so happy.  I can’t wait to see what she makes with the yarn that she has won!  Also, I finished up the Arika Cowl yesterday, so I needed to photograph it.

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I absolutely adore this piece.  The simplicity of the pattern is purely beautiful.  The yarn I used was my own 4-ply handspun Coopworth from a fleece that Cory bought me for my 30th birthday.  I really wanted to use my handspun on this project because I find that not only does the fabric display the yarn nicely, but the fringe really showcases the yarn in its natural state.  Perfect.  the cowl took only two days to knit, which felt a bit odd.  I’ve been on such a stint of sweater knitting lately that I forgot how good it can feel to finish a project in just a few hours.

Now that I have finished the cowl, can you guess what project I moved onto?  Yes, you’re right. I’m back on the sweaters.  Beagle, to be exact, by Norah Gaughan.  Cory wanted a version of the West Coast Cardigan, but I don’t have any suitable yarn for it at the moment, so he’ll have to settle for Beagle.  I’m using Wool of the Andes in the Briar Heather colourway.  It’s a simple, basic design.  No cables – how unusual for me!  It’s good though.  I need to unwind and re-discover the impact of simplicity.  It’s fun to challenge myself once in awhile, but sometimes I forget that I like knitting for the sake of knitting.  I don’t need to prove anything to myself by taking-on the most complicated designs out there.  Especially after working on Opposite Pole for so long, a bit of minimalism would do me good.

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This is what my evening looks like.  Kitten tights, knitting, and beer.  There is no better way I would like to unwind after my first day back to work.  Now I’m ready for the next.  Bring it.

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