When I was a little girl, most weekends my brother and I were packed into my father’s dusty silver Ford Ranger along with an orange cooler filled with Corona beer, Diet Coke, and ham and cheese sandwiches to set off for the mountains. You see, it was my father’s greatest joy to fly. Over the years he had several Wills Wing hang gliders, a rotating selection of harnesses, packed and repacked emergency chutes, and helmets he decorated with stickers shaped like bandaids that said, “Stupid Hurts.”
Mostly I hated these trips. The long drives. The too-warm American cheese. The boring expanse of hours that could not be fully filled by books or doodling or my brother’s incessant company while my father lived his dream in the sky.
But I learned things.
Like when my father finally returned to the ground as the sun began to arc low across the dusty, Southern California horizon, there would sometimes be a faded point of light just to the left or right of the sun. “Sun dog,” my father told me from behind his great, big sunglasses and mussed mop of thick, dark hair, “or parhelion. Caused by ice crystals high in the atmosphere.”
I liked this. Not just the scientific explanation, but the poetry of it. The little rainbow locked an angular distance of 22 degrees from the sun. Its beauty overshadowed, but also made possible, by the greatness of the sun.
I try to think this way about big things in my life. The great, overpowering, stressful things that hog all my anxiety and attention. Like the holidays.
This year my husband and I are hosting his family. There’s gifts to buy, decorations to put out, a meal to plan and create, seating to arrange, all on top of the creative pressures of doing my craft for a living (fulfilling orders, making donations and gifts). It’s easy to allow the great force of this holiday pressure to crowd the sky of my mind.
But like the little girl in the dusty field watching her father pull batons out of the wings of his glider, I’ve learned to look 22 degrees to the right or left, to find the little beautiful things that so often accompany such great stress.
My Etsy sales this year now entirely finance my yarn habit. This is an exceptional gift. With orders and donations completed, I now no longer have to feel bad about heading into my favorite yarn shop and purchasing two skeins of $30 luxury, fingering weight yarn. Just for me; just because I want it. I can head home, after the gift wrapping but before the cooking, play Bing Crosby’s White Christmas on repeat, and make something lovely and extravagant and frivolous just for me. Because, despite the planning and organizing and overpowering grunt work that goes along with the holidays, it also makes this gift and this moment in time for myself, possible.
A cabled scarf in glittering, variegated green yarn. Warmth and beauty and light.
When things seem too big to handle, don’t forget to look 22 degrees to the left or right. Sometimes beautiful things are just waiting for you to notice them.
Want to make your own Amboise Cable Scarf? Find Noelle Stiles’s pattern on Ravelry here.
Yarn is Anzula Nebula in Keola.