The last official day for winter according to the European calendar* was gorgeous. The sun was shining down and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Walking through the Darebin Parklands everything looked shiny and new. There was excitement in the air with swallows swooping joyfully over the lake, a willy wag tail hopping from branch to branch in a tree and a dusky moor hen honking from the reeds. All the excitement was infectious.
I was spending the day with good friends and their children. It was no idle catch up - we had a purpose. First we foraged plants for dyeing and kindling to make a fire. Once the fire was lit we filled our cooking pots with water from the creek and put them on the fire to boil. I had a moment when I felt like one of my ancestors, gathering water from the well. Next our foraged oxalis flowers, wattle blossom and gum leaves went into the pots.
Being outdoors in the fresh air and eco-dyeing with friends around a fire we made together was incredible. It was a feast for my senses and a balm for my tired soul. The smell of wet grass, wood smoke, eucalyptus leaves and fresh air filled my lungs. The sounds of birds calling, the creek murmuring just beyond hearing and the children talking excitedly faded into the background as I entered that state of flow - the one when you're in your element and the world around you ceases to be for just a little while.
It was craftyr at it's best. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the ultimate craftyr experience is to craft with others, outside, in nature. Barefoot would have been even better. Every time I put on the jumper I wore that day, I can smell the smoke from the fire. I breathe it in, close my eyes and I am transported back to that perfect moment when the sun was shining and we eco-dyed together.
Creating my bundles under the wide open blue sky was a heady mix of community, creativity, inspiration, faith and hope. I want to hold on to the feelings, smells, sights and sounds from the day. I want to let them continue to work their magic over the coming weeks. I want them to linger in my memory, a golden jewel of heart centred living.
*When the European settlers came to Australia they brought with them their seasons along with European plants and animals. I don't know why we insist on using four seasons of winter, spring, autumn and summer when they don't fit the climate diversity that occurs across the whole continent. This country is so vast, that the climate ranges from desert to rainforest to alpine to temperate zones. The indigenous people with their far superior local knowledge already had seasons for all the different regions of Australia. We should be using them instead.