As I sit here on the 4th of July in the sweltering stillness of a summer heatwave, I'm embarrassed to realize that I've not written a peep on the blog since landing in Massachusetts. Moving one's house has a special set of challenges. Moving one's house and business, solo, some 3000 miles is a whole other ballgame.
What would seem like minor inconveniences individually pile up to become a giant jigsaw puzzle, a physical and emotional challenge and a memory game all wrapped into one. Sleep is either entirely elusive or all encompassing. Exhaustion is constant. Yet the need to put on a smile, a pleasant air and carefree spirit is the only way to keep moving forward and somehow helps to reach each small milestone. There are the general logistics of starting a business (or re-starting in my case); permits, approvals, design and layout of work areas, unpacking, arranging, re-arranging, interviewing, hiring, training, all while keeping customers, employees and contractors happy as if it was simply business as usual. There are other more personal logistics like driver's license, health insurance, banking, notifying every personal and business connection of the move. Things like, finding the closest gas station, the post office, where to buy milk, drop off UPS boxes or pick up a prescription; where to get a good cup of coffee, a bagel, or a light bulb, garden tools (which garden tools do I really need? what are these plants growing in my yard anyway?), where do I find trash cans and the bags that go in them (do I really need THAT many trash cans? and which size for which room?), dishwasher soap (what kind of soap?). It's endless. I'm still unpacking, I counted today 16 boxes in my office, 15 boxes of clothes, 12 boxes of books that I've yet to touch. I wore the same clothes for the first two months, facing and overcoming my fear of the slightly scary basement that houses my clothes washer and dryer, because it involved less thought to just do laundry every couple of days than have to make a decision about what to wear let alone unpack a box to find something new to wear.
But now I've been three months in the Berkshires. I've watched the weather go from winter through spring and it's the height of summer. The first few weeks I'd wake up with wonder at the new coating of freshly fallen powdery light snow, that soon gave way to warmer weather and endless mud getting tracked into my kitchen by a happy Rosie. The maple tree outside my window grew leaves larger than the palm of my hand in what seemed like minutes, from buds that I barely saw before they morphed into a canopy of gently undulating waves of green. You can feel the seasons change almost overnight, it was cold and barren (but still beautiful) and then it was bright green. A week later the flowers all started taking their turns, lilacs, peonies, violets, tulips, roses and rhododendrons and a thousand other varieties. Now the leaves have turned a deeper, almost more serious shade of green, an added weight to the color and spring had shifted to summer, foreshadowing the coming fall.
Work at the studio has started to hum along, with only a few mishaps on the way. A broken leg (not mine), a torn ankle ligament (also not mine) and a broken toe (that one's mine) all injuries sustained outside of work that make us look like an odd limping bunch. The new employees are on the fast track experience-wise and seem to be enjoying the ride so far. Shipments are going out the door, which is what helps keep those doors open, so all is good. In a mad sprint before the summer TNNA trade show a few weeks ago, I developed four new colorways which I'm excited to share with you in the coming months. I was questioned more than once if I felt my color development would shift with the move, and I can now say with certainty that it has. There is a clear influence of a Berkshire palette in these new colors.
It takes work to move somewhere new and find your place. In the time I've been here, I've been exploring and learning, devouring the local paper for events and local news. Learning the streets, stretching my boundaries. I've been to antique fairs, tag sales, talking to people, finding local foods, local music, theatre, cafes and restaurants. I've had my photos published more than once in the local county paper, and had a story written about me in another paper. I've had strangers say to me "hey! aren't you the yarn lady?". I've met so many of my neighbors, and have had engaging conversations with all of them. I've fallen in love with the towns I visit and have developed a deep curiosity for the Appalachian Trail that runs through this region.
Yesterday morning, I started my drive to work, I opened all the windows to let in the morning air and kept the AC running to offset the heatwave. I put on a favorite CD (Steel Pulse's Handsworth Revolution), turned the volume up high and, with apologies to Rosie, sung along for the length of the album (and my commute). Two thirds of the way along my drive I found myself thinking: "yes, this is home."
ABout Tina Whitmore
Yarn Dyer, Designer, Dog Lover, in no particular order.. Founded Knitwhits in 2003, and Freia Fine Handpaints in 2010, introducing gradient yarn to knitting stores worldwide. Getting Hygge with it - warmth, comfort, color, texture, design, nature.
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