The Summer of Color: Beginning a New Journey

The last six months have been one hell of a journey, and now that I am back and recuperated (mostly) from my travels, have I got a few stories to tell. I'd love to get into all of it right here, and I'm sure the rambling mess that was hurled onto the screen would be entertaining at the very least. Still, I maintain a semblance of composure, and I prepare for an enormous series of posts and photos showcasing this period of time to be launched over the next few weeks: 

It's going to take months to share, but that's okay, right? I mean, we're buckling down for winter, yes? Which means we not only need something to do when huddling indoors from the frigid darkness but also need inspiration to plan for next year. (I'm already prepping trips for next spring.) So read on to see where this journey is going, and get prepared to feel a little wanderlust. But, first....

Why the "Summer of Color"?

Anyone who knows me well, knows I eschew (I've been using that word a lot...wonder if that means anything....nah) bright colors. I dress in black, gray, and various shades of muted greens. So what could possess me to write an entire series based on a color theme? Well, it all starts, oddly enough, with knitting.

A knitted cap from one of our
favorite yarn store haunts
My mom taught me to knit, crochet, sew, spin, and weave. ....well....she tried to teach me to knit. Seems the basic lessons never quite took, so I can't cast on to save my life. Seriously, I would freeze to death if I had to knit a sweater for survival, especially if I had to start the sweater myself (a disturbing metaphor for one's life if you think about it). Yet, I am uniquely adept at crochet. I crochet using what I call fractillated [made-up word] chaos...which is really just a fancy way of saying I cannibalize already written patterns and make things up as I go along. Sometimes it even works.

After a hiatus of many years, I have gotten back into this fiber art. I actually started about two years ago, but upon my arrival in Iowa, I have been exposed to my mom's mad skills as a fiber artist. And, damn, if she didn't get me sucked into the crazy with her. That's okay, though. I got her into Pinterest, so we're even.

Now, if you're not into this stuff, then you probably don't know how much it's changed in more recent years. Dyers have gotten adventurous with their color choices, and are creating much more exciting palettes. When you add in the explosion of cool new patterns that are out there (which I will cover more in depth in a later post), well, knitting entered a real renaissance in the last ten years or so.

So there I am, amidst all these lush fibers and intense hues. It's like my senses are awake again for the first time in years, and, suddenly, I'm seeing color in everything. And liking it.

The way we define our experiences is often marked by seemingly unrelated minutiae that turn into an intricately woven pattern...a theme, if you will. Kind of like those different types of yarn, colorful bits that slide over needles and around hooks, becoming a seemingly tangled mass until it's all over and you can see the bigger pattern. Until we can see our theme. At the end of this summer, I felt as though I had new eyes, that a certain dullness had lifted, revealing something colorful, sometimes too bright, but always a wonder. This new perspective kept playing itself out time and time again throughout the past months, and I feel lucky to have noticed.

So, this summer ended as it started, with yarn and wild times with my mom...and saturated hues...and yarn...and adventures...and more yarn....there really has been a lot of yarn, people. Here are some highlights of what I did. It will be just a taste, with more in depth posts to follow...

The ATX Farewell Tour

Earlier this year, I made the decision to move back to Iowa. "Mixed feelings" does not begin to cover how I felt. There's no place like Austin, and that's a fact. As the time neared for me to say final farewells and head out, my mom came down to help with the move. Let's say that hijinks ensued. Going away shindigs, visits to landmarks, museums, outdoor street art galleries, and food, food, food!

Lotus pond at Zilker Botanical Gardens
Austin, TX
East Austin Street Art
Austin, TX
Texas State Capitol Dome
Austin, TX

ATX Exodus

(a.k.a - The Big Move)
Just one week after my mom arrived, we were on the road leaving Austin. Packing up the truck is a story in and of itself (if you like stories about motorcycle acrobatics, you'll love this). The truck load was giant, so we took our time. Along the way, we stopped off at:

an outdoor metal art gallery...
a couple small towns...
...and, just for fun,
we outran a storm.

Settling In & Moving Forward

There's nothing like gaining new perspective on a place after some time away...especially if that place is tied up with feelings from our youth, and that time is something like a decade and a half.  I'm happy to report that I'm enjoying the Midwest a great deal more the second time around. Day excursions with the family (forays into local neighborhoods, the top zoo in the world, and a marooned steamboat!), interspersed themselves with some hardcore project planning for my endeavors whilst I settled into my new lifestyle. 

Arriving at the farm
Launching Ransomed Roads
Working on Arcadian Gypsy
Visiting a local museum

There have been bumps along the way, but reconnecting with family has been priceless. Oh, and let's not forget prepping for...

Burning Man '17: Radical Ritual

Words always seem to fail when I talk about this place. No description is truly adequate, just as it is impossible to do everything there is to do at this event in a single week. I deteriorate into a dithering mess every time I attempt to converse on the topic, sputtering about rainbow cathedrals in the desert, and trees with millions of LED lights surrounded by dust eddies. Still, I will always try for you, Dear Reader. In the meantime, it's best just to show some pics:

Winged Unicorn on the Playa with dust eddies in the background
My camp called this one
"The Cathedral"
Giant phonograph

The Iowa East Coast Yarn Tour

Did you know Iowa has two coasts? Sandwiched between the Mississippi and the Missouri, this steamboat state has an endearingly varied culture. Mom & I went exploring the Eastern half of the state for the better part of two weeks just two days after I arrived back from the Burn (and more later on how that was the best and worst idea ever). Caves, burial grounds, the shortest train in the world, and the biggest surprise I could have gotten...street art. I am enchanted with Iowa's East Coast. Here's just a taste:

Iowa countryside
Purl Gurl - a fabulous
piece of street art
Dubuque, IA
Chevy Bel Air
Waterloo, IA

Tiny House Midwest

Did I mention I'm building a tiny house? How serendipitous was it, then, that I discovered a tiny house festival happening on the tail end of our trip, just a couple hours from home? It was pure kismet, especially if one considered that last-minute car trouble threatened to keep me away. Brimming with info and an amazing place to meet some cool, like-minded individuals, this felt like a second decompression. It's not too far a stretch to say it felt like home. 

Tiny house on wheels for workers
The view from my car on the evening of the festival

Epilogue: An Autumn of Color & The Lost Title Cards

New movie blog!:
Once the summer travel season was finished for me, I got down to the business of collapsing for a month. After that well-needed rest - and during which time I created yet another blog for movies - I was able to kick things into high gear and I've been going ever since. I'll probably collapse again after the holidays, but it's been worth it. I even got to enjoy autumn.

My artistic interpretation of an art installation at
the Council Bluffs Public Library.
More on this later!

I'll be back soon, so stay tuned and cue the music.
Summertime - Will Smith

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