Finding North

This weekend was the Grand Depart for the Tour de Fleece and I admittedly got off to a bit of a slow start, but for the very best of reasons. Sometimes friends visit (YAY!) and family adventures take place (YAY!) and the spinning just has to wait or at least proceed at a more modest pace. As much as I love spinning, while I will definitely work on making it fit into my life more easily I won’t ever let it entirely dictate what I’m going to do day-in and day-out. Life will always go on!

In any case, I woke up when the mister was getting ready for work on Saturday and took a little time with my coffee and spindle before the house was up and about…


We gave our good friend the option to gallivant on Saturday or to stick close to home. We’d shown her our new home & town on Friday and on Saturday she opted to stay home and knit & spin — did I mention she knits and spins, too?! I have the feeling the relaxing involved was as much on her mind as was wanting to let me spin for the Tour. She is, after all, the most thoughtful person I know. I worked on plying my hawser while she worked on spinning her first batt. It was a pretty much as relaxing as it gets.

Sunday was the mister’s day off and I could tell he was feeling a bit restless and needing to go some place special. I packed up my spindle-to-go set and we piled into the adventure mobile. And we wound up here…


The trails of Copper Falls State Park. It is quite a drive from our house, but extraordinary and worth the trek.

There are the obvious picturesque scenes…


And the more subtle…


All around I noticed places where life shouldn’t be able to exist, but it finds a way.


The vertical fractures in the rock and intense curvature of the roots of this tree were breathtaking. Indeed, this is a place where rigid strength clashes with an very organic desire to find a way to thrive.

As we marveled at the cedar trees around us, thinking about the little red cedar spindle in my pack, my husband pointed to this tree.


“Look,” he said. “Even the trees spin here.” โค

As we trekked back from this stand of spinning trees in awe of the natural world, I lingered just long enough to hear a little girl ask her mom, “Mom, which was is North?”

And her mom responded, “I don’t know, honey. I don’t have a compass on my phone.”

I think it struck me because since our move it’s taken me a long time to get my bearings regarding the orientation of the roads around town. There have been many a time I find myself leaning back in my seat to see the little “W” or “E” on the dash when my husband is driving to try to get a better feel for where I am and where I’m going. I definitely have a long way to go.

On the trail, though, I always feel like given a little time, especially on a sunny day, I can figure out the cardinal directions and the general time based on the sun. In college when I would be cross country skiing new trails that’s always how I would navigate. ย For me, my place on Earth is something I consider a lot — for location, for weather, even for the different angle of light in the evening. Because I’m such a visual person and science nerd, I am just always considering how my place on Earth affects what the world looks like and how it changes my perspective. Knowing my place in the physical world helps to bind me to the person that I am, as well, and the way I spend my time. Wife, mom, daughter, friend, spinner, knitter, hiker — all these things are impacted by — if you really think about it — my location, my relationship to where North is. ย And yet I have never considered my phone as a compass that helps me find North.

After a picnic lunch, we fittingly turned the car North again, this time toward Potato River Falls.

d and moose

It was a new-to-us place and it turned out to be the ultimate in happy places for my girl…

moose waterfall

And Moose, who only tried to check in one innocent bystander wading out into the falls. He’s so happy in the water and always so alert to people who might be rescuing.

I had a little company while I spun…

me and aldo

The best kind of company, actually.

We made our way home, refreshed and exhausted. And after getting the house in order and plants watered, I settled down to prep some fiber and spin.


I finished plying my hawser and got a respectable amount onto my spindle.


And I started to dig in to what will be a 2-ply worsted-ish yarn with Superfine Merino from Three Waters Farm. This is one of my absolute favorite colorways — Cafe Diem. After spinning a few fine yarns it’s taking a bit to get back in the worsted frame of mind, but it’s a welcome change.

I’m very hopeful that someone in that little girl’s hiking party was able to help her find North and that she was able to better understand her relationship with her place on Earth. I’m still working on my bearings, to be sure, here in our new home and on all the new trails. I’m still learning the light and how my place in this world has changed, ever so slightly over the past months. Odds are I still won’t ever remember that there’s a compass on my phone, but you can bet that I’m still thinking about finding North.

9 thoughts on “Finding North”

  1. it sounds like a wonderful way to do the TDF – with friends and family, at home on in beautiful places. Your singles and yarn are looking great!

    As for the little girl and her mom – wow. I worry when I hear things like that. Those are the people I fear will get lost in the woods or on trails, and not have a clue how to help themselves. No idea about light, or moss on trees.

    As for you, my friend – you might be learning your way around your new area,, but your place on the planet is secure and it suits you very well.

    1. I was just kind of shocked. I’m not hardcore into orienteering and I get easily turned around when I’m in a car, but I can usually figure it out. I just really never think of my phone as a navigational tool — if anything, I think of it as a navigational hindrance because the GPS/maps make you not think enough about where you are, where you are going, and how you are getting there. But I digress…

      I definitely like my place on the planet. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I definitely like your place on the planet too – wife, mother, spinner, knitter, friend – the list goes on and on. I, too, am sad how technology both helps and robs us. Grateful for your grand adventure, though, and the lovely spinning. OH, what beauty!

  3. Your pics are very awe inspiring! I also love to take pics, however, the really goods ones are not very common. I must check out our camera store and get enrolled in some classes. Many, many years ago, I did a black and white class. Loved it, but very time consuming to develop a pic just right.
    I remember as a child, I heard that the moss always grows on the north side of a tree. Do not know if that is true?!? Hm,… must check it out.

    1. I would say 85% of the photos I share here I take with my iphone 6. Someday perhaps I’ll get a bit more educated with my camera and perhaps get a better lens for it, but for now I’m a fan of the size and abilities of my phone.

      And I believe you are right, sort of. The myth is that moss grows on the North side of trees, but the truly it just *mostly* grows on the North side of trees and that’s only true in the Northern hemisphere. In the Southern hemisphere, it grows mostly on the south side of trees. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’ve been wanting to go to Copper Falls for a long time, but it is a really long drive! Maybe next summer. Your pictures motivate me to get there!

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