Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hurry, Black Sheep. Hurry!

     Exactly two months from this moment (7:06 a.m.) I will be waking up on the train, traveling north once again to the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene. This annual gathering of the West Coast fiber tribe has become important to me. There are interesting classes to take, lots and lots of lovely fleeces to examine and (if lucky) buy, sweet-faced sheep to look at, and incomparable shopping for everything related to the fiber arts. Best of all, the Black Sheep Gathering is time for me to renew friendships with the fiber folk, and to spend several days spinning, talking, spinning, thinking about fiber, spinning, knitting, spinning, planning new projects, spinning...I think you get the idea.
     I woke up this morning and my first thought was, "Did I remember to pack my portable kate in my wheel bag?" Random, but maybe not.
     First, there is the weather. It's hot for April. Very hot. Today is going to be in the low 90s. While unseasonal for the San Francisco Bay Area (earlier in the week I was still wearing heavy sweaters and wool socks), this is the weather we have in mid-June, just before I leave for Black Sheep.
     Second, I have the house to myself. Stephen (my long-suffering spouse) is away at an historical reenactment this weekend. In the past, he has gone to the Pacific Primitive Rendezvous, which is held right before Black Sheep, so I have several days of being a "bachelor" before I leave for Oregon and he returns.
     Third is what the Black Sheep Gathering represents. It's at the very beginning of summer vacation: the eight weeks I have to myself before returning to the joys and frustrations of teaching. It's my time, and my trip up to Oregon marks the beginning of that time. This past year has been particularly stressful: the school I taught at 14 years was closed and I was transferred to another high school; mid-summer saw the replacement of nearly the entire administrative staff with people who are...ahem...less than effective at their jobs; and I've been plagued with health problems that kept me away from my spinning wheel for nearly nine months. I finally began spinning again only a month ago.
     So hurry up Black Sheep. I'm more than ready for my summer to start.