Sunday, November 18, 2012


            Tim, bless his darlin’ heart, spent considerable energy this sodden and blustery week perusing weaving websites on my behalf. He researched harness looms (haven’t mastered the rigid heddle yet), raw wool (spinning and dyeing my own yarn is still a ways down the road), and organic yarn sources. He sent me several links featuring beautiful traditional and modern rugs and tapestries. One could—and does!—lose a lot of time clicking from one to the next, and the next, and the next. Not to be outdone, I connected with Yarn Barn of (Lawrence) Kansas; Stitch ‘n’ Frame out of Urbandale, Iowa; The Woolery in Frankfort, Kentucky; and the used-book site Alibris to find a must-have out-of-print volume entitled Finishes in the Ethnic Tradition by Suzanne Baizerman and Karen Searle.

            No wonder many of our gardening clients and neighbors think we’ve left town, died, or both.

            The link in my inbox Saturday morning opened to Crazy Woman’s Navajo Weaving Supplies. I admire Navajo rugs and blankets, but what resonated in my heart was the contact address. She lives on Hidden Hollow Road in Recluse, Wyoming.

Recluse, Wyoming (courtesy GoogleMaps)
            I glommed onto the idea of Recluse. I visualized a small log cabin on its own private track, called Go Away Gulch Lane, or some such. A cloistered existence has always sung siren songs to me—as long as it’s plumbed, electrified, near a large body of water, not subject to harsh winters, and fully funded. I do have a few standards, after all.

            GoogleMaps’ satellite pictures injected a dose of unwelcome reality into my cozy imaginings. Tucked into the otherwise empty northeast corner of the state, Recluse looks to be a cluster of about 12 buildings in a wide-ish spot on Recluse Road, unceremoniously plunked down in a taupe ocean of raked-gravel-like harvested fields. A precious few algae-green patches erupt into the brown, but I bet they’re densely populated (relatively speaking, of course) with zealously guarded borders.

            Extremely well named, Recluse lies about 200 miles north-northeast of Casper; 200 miles northwest of Rapid City, South Dakota; 225 miles southeast of Billings, Montana; and around 150 miles from the eastern edge of Yellowstone National Park—the part lacking access roads.

            Then memories of the time Tim and I drove through eastern Wyoming on our way to Mount Rushmore poured in. We stopped along the absolutely featureless stretch of I-25 between Cheyenne and Casper to look at some big-horn sheep and the still-visible ruts etched into the stony ground by covered wagons filled with hopeful settlers on their tortuous way to Oregon in the 19th century. I read Willa Cather: stories of pioneer women driven insane by horizon-to-horizon treelessness and incessant wind sprang to mind. I would have joined the sisterhood of Looney Lucys for sure. I started to cry.

            That evening, in Casper, Tim and I had our one and only serious fight.

            Because everything goes faster these days, Lucy was creeping in after only seven hours. No wonder Cate Loetscher, proprietor of Navajo Weaving Supplies, calls herself Crazy Woman. She’s certainly made of sterner stuff than I am.

Oak Island, NC (courtesy GoogleMaps)
            Looking at the blessedly blue and green GoogleMap of Oak Island made me think maybe things aren’t really so awful here. It’s certainly a textbook example of being careful what one wishes for, with a soupรงon of the devil one knows is better, yadayada.

            Take a minute from frenetic preparations for the holiday season to be truly grateful for all you already have and are. It may not offer all the delights of Recluse, Wyoming, but grace and happiness reside there nonetheless.

            Thanks for dropping by.