September is my favorite month. The cynics among you who know me well will assume it’s only because the children are back in school, but that’s not the case. It’s because of autumn.

I’m not into pumpkin spice everything. (Does it occur to anyone that pumpkin isn’t a spice? And pumpkin spice is a spice blend? It’s not like one spice. Anyway.) It’s just the season itself–the crisp mornings, the changing colors, the rain, the last burst of summer we often get when it’s still comfortable to wear sandals and capris during the day, but we have to put on jackets in the evening. This is my favorite time of year–that time before the brutal East Wind starts driving icepicks through our chests here on the west end of the Columbia River Gorge, before the encroaching Christmas rush threatens to choke the joy out of the whole season, before the long stretch of darkness in January and February depletes all the vitamin D from the Pacific Northwest population. It’s after the heat, after the harried rush of summer, after the bickering siblings go back to school. It’s a lull–a rest–a retreat.

I had a lot of yarn, so naturally, I went yarn shopping yesterday.
I had a lot of yarn, so naturally, I went yarn shopping yesterday.

This September looks to be the quietest one I’ve had in years. I have no volunteer obligations on my plate right now. The management of school schedules is much easier with my last baby now out of grade school and everyone on the same district calendar. Our boys are no longer involved in scouting, so that’s one less weekly obligation and one less campout each month. Our girls are still involved in their troop, but the troop calendar looks a lot saner now that other people are in charge (I may have been a tad bit of an overachiever when it came to troop events), and I am just a back-up leader with very little actual responsibility.

One would think that in this climate, the Muse would rush back in and take charge, filling my head and fingers with words and images. But…

So far, she seems to still be on vacation.

Granted, it’s just the first week of school. It’s possible that I may not have had enough space to allow the Muse to do her thing yet. Once I’ve breathed a bit, once the kid exhaustion and adjustment phase has peaked, maybe the Muse will come back from vacation and bring her ideas along.

Today, though… Today I just want to knit.

Autumn means wool. It means hats and scarves and socks to be cast on, knitted, purled, cabled, cast off. It means Christmas lists and yarn inventory and “I need a trip to Happy Knits for some of that sweet Malabrigo and a new pair of needles.” It means anguish over the local yarn shop that closed and a hunt for a new shop that, while not quite as local, still offers more than just the Red Heart acrylic at Michael’s. It means “where the heck did my size 6 DPNs go?” and “why do I have three size J crochet hooks?” and “I am going to need a few more tapestry needles.”

(I get this excited over school supplies, too.)

(Also, I found my six 6 DPNs… the day after I bought a new set.)

Maybe it’s the squirrel instinct we all have to stock up, hoard a few things, and get ready for the cold weather. I want to have warm socks, fuzzy hats, fingerless mitts ready to go when that East Wind tries to steal my soul.

Or maybe the need to knit is the transition to writing. I think when I knit. Not crocheting–I have to think too much about crocheting. Knitting is repetitive, soothing, meditative. I follow the pattern and let my brain work out the things that have been building up over the summer. Mental space is a rare and precious commodity that barely makes a peep when one has many voices clamoring for attention over the summer. My desire to knit may be my brain’s way of seeking out a path to clarity–a self-preservation technique that allows me to feed one thought through at a time. It’s like there’s a narrow tunnel at the end of my brain and a massive traffic jam behind it, and until some of that traffic gets through, there just won’t be enough space to allow the good thoughts freedom of movement.

It may just be the need for some creative cross-training. I have had not much time for knitting or crocheting this summer, either. Like a triathlete who has taken a few months away from training, I need some time to do a variety of disciplines before I can really get back to races.

Whatever the case, it’s knitting season. Not forever, and not all day, every day, but for a while, I need some fiber in my fingers and some projects in the queue.

The words will wait.

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