Heads Up! #10: Pleated Merlot in the Snow

This week has left me alternately ranting and speechless. Between insurance frustrations, the seemingly unavoidable “this is worse than we thought and it’s gonna cost more than we planned” home renovation revelation, and the horrifying events at the US Capitol, it’s been… a lot.

So after getting my brain sampled (i.e. a Covid swab test) this afternoon in preparation for an upcoming medical procedure, it seemed like a good time to take a walk and clear my head. I kept said head warm with a new lid, this one a Christmas present from Steve, a pleated wool bucket/cloche in a lovely shade of merlot.

Sporting my new hat

I haven’t resorted to drinking any merlot yet, but I haven’t ruled it out.

The light snow we got today had stopped falling by the time I made it outside, but there was still enough white stuff on the ground to make for some pretty views across the park as the sun dropped. Not far from me, a couple pulled their happily shrieking child along on a sled, and a black lab romped through the slush, chasing a ball. I felt myself began to breathe a little deeper, a little easier.

From a distance, the home repairs seemed less daunting.

I was pleased to discover that the new hat blended perfectly with the plaid wool wrap I brought back from our trip to Scotland in July 2019. Wearing it takes me back to another gray, chilly day, one on the Isle of Skye, and a cozy showroom filled with fleece and all manner of warm, woolly items at the SkyeSkyns tannery. After shopping, we had tea and cake in a yurt, then huddled up in our Waternish lodgings to watch the play of light and rain on the loch below.

Perhaps, in another year or two, I’ll don my merlot hat and be transported back to a snowy afternoon walk followed by a mug of hot chocolate, or a quiet Christmas morning spent in flannel pjs, giggling at kitten antics.

For now, its pleats are keeping my bald head toasty on a wintry day’s walk. As I eyed the scaffolding climbing the sides of our house, I kept thinking there’s a metaphor in there somewhere. You have to tear out the rot before you can mend the roof. When you’re clearing out and fixing up, things often look worse before they get better.

Here’s hoping. May next week be a bit less eventful for everyone.

Wishes: more snow, less drama, peace for us all.

Heads Up! #7: Cozy Cobalt Felted Wool

img_0912Like much of the U.S., we recently had snow here in Southwest Virginia. I usually welcome snow, as it tends (at least here in the South) to make us slow down a bit and refocus our attention, for a day or two, on things like nature’s beauty, play, and family. The cold inspires gratitude for the warm shelter I call home, a gift denied to too many.

Our recent snow days–accompanied by single digit temperatures–seemed like the perfect time to feature my cozy cobalt felted wool hat, handmade by artist Sandy Stanton. I purchased the hat new back in September at the Asheville NC Homecrafts store, located in the Historic Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville. There were so many wonderful hats there to choose from, it was tough to select just one (I didn’t; I’ll be featuring my second purchase at a later date…). But I was immediately drawn to the beautiful blues of this hat, its primary cobalt accented by a band and flower knitted from an ombre-dyed yarn that shifts from jade to turquoise to cadet blue, into gray, brown, and finally cobalt at the flower’s center.img_0951

I gravitate toward shades of blue in my winter clothing, perhaps as a way of harnessing and transforming the emotional blues I often suffer in cold weather and its long, dark days. When so many other colors disappear from the landscape in winter, we are left with the blues: the crisp cerulean sky that reigns over the coldest days, steel-blue clouds signaling an oncoming storm, ice’s translucent aquas, the ethereal periwinkle of moonlit snow. Beautiful in their own right, these winter hues also recall the blues of kinder seasons: the robin’s egg blue of a cloudless autumn afternoon, a pewter horizon hanging over a sapphire sea, water lapping at the azure edges of a sunny backyard pool.

Occasionally snow days are an unwelcome interruption: they frustrate routines, delay travel, cancel our much-anticipated plans. But even when the clouds confound us, the thing about snow is this: it eventually melts. The storm will pass, the roads will clear. And as the world emerges from its white cocoon, the sky above will spread its wings, inviting us once again to delight in its fair, wide, beautiful blue.

Heads Up!

Photos by Steve Prisley


 ∼ Beautiful, quirky hats make me happy. The “Heads Up!” series is a reminder to keep my (currently bald) head up, to pay attention to the good in the world, and to encourage myself and others facing a tough road that it’s possible to find the fun in even the most challenging circumstances. ∼