Years ago, my mother bought me a multi-colored wool sweater from L.L. Bean. I wore it often when substitute teaching in Anchorage, and sometimes felt too warm but still loved it because wool seems to provide a psychological barrier against cold and dark. At least, that’s how I see it.
A year or two later, I purchased a longer/larger wool sweater while at the Alaska State Fair. It was made with different shades of blue and purple yarn, and every time I put it on, remembered that day at the fair. Specifically, riding the Scrambler with Zippy, laughing while our friends Anne and Jim (who I hoped to make a couple) rode in another car and blushingly struggled to maintain some distance between them as the laws of physics smushed them together.
About ten years ago I went to the People’s Fair in Denver on a hot, hot summer day and, in a fit of counter-intuitive behavior, tried on wool sweaters. I ended up buying a black and white one that was handmade in Ecuador, a stunning sweater that came with a jaunty little hat. I couldn’t wait for the temperatures to drop. Later that winter I wore my new sweater across the street to my neighbors’ house where a bunch of people shouted SURPRISE! and squirted me with silly string to help celebrate my 40th birthday.
Beautiful sweaters, all.
I kept them in my closet in Anchorage and then here in Colorado, up on a shelf for easy access. Then one day I decided to put them in a zippered bag and store that bag in a bin beneath my bed. Last weekend I got cold and went to the storage bin for my large made-in-Alaska sweater. I pulled it out and put it on, thinking something felt different. As I walked back down the hallway, a wooden button dropped from the sweater. I ran my hands over the wool and realized it’d changed.
MOTHS! CATERPILLARS! DESTRUCTION! EWW!
Apparently I’d sealed my sweaters away for safekeeping with a moth who got very lucky. And very busy.
I said goodbye to those glorious wool sweaters and threw them in the garbage, encased in their zipper bag. However, I’m still having difficulty getting that imagery and tactile sensation out of my mind, and it doesn’t help that I found a caterpillar in my cleavage a few minutes after putting on the sweater. (Like I said, EWW!)
All that’s left is my little hat. Still out on the deck because I’ve been afraid to bring it back inside. Here it is in all it’s Ecuadoran wool glory: