Changeover in my old life in Anchorage meant changing the tires. Drive to the tire shop with studs grinding on roads gritty with leftover winter sand, air full of dust (also returning geese and hints of warmth), and drive home suddenly lighter, friskier with summer tires.
Here a winter-for-summer changeover trades pillow covers. Two sets of patterned fabric cover the nook bench pillows according to season. This year tulips broken off by a hard rain and brought inside prompt me to it – they need spring cover colors to be a pleasing scene.
Setting aside other chores, I sit down to sew. Spring sunshine pours in – the window beside me open for the first time in months. I squeeze each pillow out of its winter cover made from a Bali sarong – stylized tropical flowers and birds on warm-toned backgrounds of khaki and rust – and change to garden blossom colors in stripes, polka dots, and flowers.
When I used to make quilts, I treasured such quiet moments of stitching – the needle rhythmically piercing the cotton, in and out pushed by a thimble. I could listen for ideas about what was next.
Clearing thinking space can be tricky some weeks, and a good thing for my skittering mind is to read some part of Brenda Ueland’s 1938 book “If You Want to Write” – even just the introduction. In it, the writer Andrei Codrescu admits his own need to have “inspiration refreshed regularly” – and he always finds renewal in Ueland’s book.
Codrescu identifies Ueland as a teacher who is a believer whose faith is contagious. Codrescu says Ueland believed in “…the power that comes from paying complete attention to one’s circumstances. The joy that infuses attention pays off beyond one’s wildest dreams. It’s simple, but still secret, because it takes Courage.”
The fresh covers lift my spirits – like road tires instead of winter treads. They smell like the bar of lavender soap they’ve been stored with all winter.
In the midst of the task, I wonder what life will be like at the next changeover. You never know. But this is a chance for gratitude for life going on with comforting routines, a chance to recognize a change of the season – and a chance to pay attention.