Sunday, 20 November 2011

-25 C

Right now, at this very moment, at the weather station nearest us, the thermometer is recording -25C. That it is 2:21 a.m. is beside the point.  It is cold.  The forecast for the deep depths of night (as if 2:21 isn't deep enough) is -30 C.

This deep dense cold makes me wonder about one thing more than almost any other.  What the heck were people thinking when they abandoned wool?  Or at the very least, what the heck were Canadians thinking when we abandoned wool?  

There have always been elegant suits and tailored pants in very expensive wool.  It is the most classic of fabrics for modern menswear.  It isn't hard to find, for ladies who want that same business like look.  But outside of a really great pair of pants, or the odd very expensive sweater, there is little pure wool to be found.  

Unless you shop in little boutique shops in trendy parts of town or stores that you would never ever take kids into, pure wool isn't there.  In an average mall, you'll probably find only 1 or two stores with pure wool fibres, and I'd be willing to bet that when you do find it, it will be a men's wear store. If you shop in an average chain store, wool isn't there.   If you shop on a budget, pure wool just isn't there.

Wool is the perfect fiber for Canada.  In Canada, even in the hottest summer, having a light wool sweater at hand is the right thing.  Summer nights can be chilly and spring and fall are perfect sweater wearing weather. 

But winter...Winter is why Canadians should hearken unto to wool like few other places on the planet. The other wool places are like us, secure in our position on the top or the bottom of the globe. Polar people.  Wool people.  Wool should be our common middle name.  

If I were a really talented writer, I would write a soliloquy on what it is to discover wool as an adult, and wear a wool sweater in the middle of a deeply cold and dark winter night.  I would tell you how, when I slip on a wool sweater or toss a shawl across my back, the chill that haunts me, is gone.  I would be able to capture the deep comfort that is sleeves curving down around my elbows, making the wool hug just a little more closely across my back as I move and work, and how a nicely buttoned sweater envelops me like my mother's hugs.  I would be able to make you read and feel the wool if I were a truly talented writer.

But I am not a really talented writer.  I may have been close to good on a rare occasion or two.  I might turn a nice phrase once in a while and that is enough for me.   

What I am is a knitter.  I am a pretty good knitter and I hearken unto wool.  That matters to me.  That matters more than is rational and sensible.  It has meaning in the deepest heart of me and in the cold of a Canadian winter night.  It ties the inside me and the outside world into one.  

I am cozy.  I am comforted.  I am warm.

I am also going back to bed.  

It's -27 C now.  Bed, snuggled under a pile of blankets, wrapped in my sleepy time wool shawl, is, after all, the only sensible place to be.


Sel and Poivre said...

The addition of a big, busy dog that needs a lot of exercise and a wardrobe of wool has utterly changed this Canadian's experience for the better. I'm outside a lot and warm as toast whether walking or sitting at home - all because of wool.

I grew up in hand knit wool mitts and wool dress coats but to your point, as the years went by such things disappeared from the stores I shopped in.

Winter comfort is now back in my life in a big way - never to be left behind again!

Brendaknits said...

If you can still find ladies wool pants in your neck of the woods, you are lucky. It's polyester all the way here in Ontario.