Sunday, October 28, 2018

The final brain post, and a plea for kindness.

This post will be somewhat disjointed. I promised y'all I would post the sugar skull cowl when I finished it. As Samhain, Halloween and Día de los Muertos are all coming up this week, I need to do that today. But my head and heart are elsewhere right now, and I imagine a lot of you feel the same way. I'll get to that in a minute.

First, the cowl. Double knitting turned out to be perfect for this project. As you may recall, the idea behind double knitting is that you end up with a double-thick item that has a colorwork design on one side and the negative image of it on the other side. You knit both layers at the same time. It's a fun technique that I'll likely do again someday.

Here's the finished product:

I put some corkscrew fringe on top of the hat for fun.

I find that which side I wear depends on the color of my coat or jacket. With my navy blue quilted coat, I've been wearing the multicolored background. With my brown jacket, I've been wearing the side with the blue background showing.

Of course, it's now supposed to be 70 degrees on Wednesday. Maybe it'll be cold enough in the office for the cowl.

As I mentioned, Samhain is coming up this week. Many Pagans consider this our New Year's Eve. As the Wheel of the Year turns, Samhain marks the start of the dark half of the year, a time to go within ourselves and contemplate our personal harvest and what we might want to accomplish in the year to come.

It's also said to be one of the times of the year when the veil between worlds becomes thin. That makes it easier to reach those on the other side -- magical beings as well as those who have gone ahead of us in death. The veil doesn't thin all at once, for an hour at the stroke of midnight on Halloween or anything like that. It's a gradual thing. I've even heard some folks say that in general, the veil is thinner now than usual. 

Anyway. I don't mean for this to sound dramatic, but several days ago I received a message from the other side that I'd like to share with you. Here it is: It's going to get worse before it gets better.

I was dismayed but not surprised. Our country -- as well as much of Western society -- has been deteriorating pretty steadily into two polarized camps, and those in charge don't seem inclined to lead us out of it. In fact, they're egging us on. It gets them votes, after all, and keeps them in power.

And so just this past week, we've learned that someone thought it would be a good idea to send pipe bombs through the mail to many liberal political leaders and some news organizations. And just yesterday, someone thought it was a good idea to take a gun into a synagogue and shoot a bunch of old people -- some of them survivors of the Holocaust.

A lot of us are sick at heart over this poisoned atmosphere we're all living in. How do we clear the air? It's like we're at war with one another. How do we stop the madness?

The Associated Press talked to Robb Willer, a sociology professor at Stanford University. Willer calls this "the question of our time:  Are we going to choose to continue the war, or are we going to choose peace? And we don’t know yet what the answer to that will be, because while a majority of Americans are fed up with the extremity of our political divisions, it does feel like we’re stuck here." And then he says, "It's going to get worse before it gets better."

Gee, I've heard that somewhere before.

I know this is going to sound like liberal snowflake claptrap, but you know what would fix this? If we all just decided to be kind. I'm serious -- that's all it would take. Be kind to everyone you know and everyone you meet. Assume the best instead of the worst. And if someone is trying to scare you into hating someone or a group of someones, ask yourself why. 

There's an election coming up on November 6th. It's too late to register in most jurisdictions, but if you're not registered and you still can, do it. Then cast your vote on election day -- or sooner, if they'll let you. But don't vote out of fear. Vote for kindness. It may sound like the weenie option, but I'm pretty sure it's the only thing that will save us.

These moments of bifurcated blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Get out and vote!

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