Tuesday, November 19, 2013
It is mid November and the weather has taken the leaves from the trees and sun only shines for 9hrs 48m and 26s today. We begin our descent into darker days..losing on average 2 minutes of daylight in each 24hr cycle. shadows lengthen. winter approaches. I find myself waking earlier each day, well before daybreak. And when night falls, I feel the temptation to snuggle under the covers soon after supper. Time to fibernate.
Last week, I passed some milkweed on the road, and collected some of it to blend with spinning. Asclepias, a genus that boasts of over 140 known species...and related to the dogbane family...has a rich history in folk medicine. When I was a child, I would try to catch the seeds that were floating on the wind, believing that if I could catch one, I could make a wish and it would come true.
Now, I collect the pods for the pappus, the silk, the floss. the pods were already open and the slightest touch of them sent the seeds floating into the air, scattering the wishes.
At home, I empty the pods and silk filaments fall into a bowl.
A handful of milkweed silk feels like a handful of soft silky air. I place them gently onto my handcards and lightly brush and blend them with some tussah silk.
Most of the seeds fall onto the floor. I will sweep them up and scatter them on my next walk. They will make new plants that will become the sole source of food for monarch butterfly larvae.
I lift the fibers from the hand card, and fold them over my finger for spinning. A supported spindle is best to use, because the staple length of the fiber is short, and the spindle bears no weight, the draw is fast and fun.
As I spin, I make a few wishes of my own...wishes that are now locked into the silky threads. Summer secrets on my spindle.