I am a hooker- a primitive rug hooker, that is. My latest rug is called Among the Fiddleheads.

“Do you like fiddleheads?” my brother asked when I sent him pictures of how the project was progressing.

“No”, I replied, “but I think they are one of the most beautiful things in nature.”

When creating a pattern for hooking, I sometimes do not know what the end result will be. That is a departure from my earlier work, but I am less uncomfortable with the unknown now which perhaps accounts for the difference in planning or lack there of, when it comes to creating anyway.

Among the Fiddleheads actually just started with a house, one of Deanne Fitzpatrick’s templates. There was a reason I chose this house. Its style is a common one found throughout rural Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; its characteristics always make me feel loved whenever I come across one, unexpectedly, on a beautiful road trip day.

The lines are simple and elegant, the color is often bold and its moldings become its outline on a clear day. Any way it’s colored, this house style speaks to me.

“The fiddlehead turns on itself but only ever in love”

Matthew Dickman, Fiddlehead Ferns

During the month of May, just passed, I engaged with my elementary students online, and one of our lessons was to create fiddleheads through simple drawings. Their classroom teachers shared videos about the wild, sometimes edible plant as well. It was a fun lesson. I even showed them how to make one out of pipe cleaners. I could have made a zillion of them.

It was a natural next step then to incorporate fiddleheads in my rug hooking. Their whimsy is perfect for my way of speaking.

In his poem “Fiddlehead Ferns”, parts of which I shared with my students during cyber learning, Matthew Dickman writes, “the fiddlehead turns on itself but only ever in love”.

And that is how I feel sometimes when the world, or at the very least, my world becomes too much. To protect myself, and my daughter, and our memories from another time, we need to close up tightly on occasion to feel the love from our other life.

Slowly the unfurling process will happen again. A gentle nudge from the spirits above often get us going again. Or the need to help others in pain.

I believe in signs and have a strong faith. I have seen the ways of Christ in so many people I have encountered and continue to meet. They are as comforting to me as my home. They act upon my own spirit in ways I find too difficult to explain, except to say that these signs are so powerful and yet manifest themselves in the simplest of ways.

An example? I received an email one day from a woman, a new acquaintance through Bea’s church youth group. She had left a book at my door that I was looking for, and just wanted to explain from where it had come.

She signed her communication with “go gently, Ann.”

Go gently? At first I experienced some feelings of paranoia. What had she been hearing, or possibly observing, in Bea?

But then I thought of the Huxley quote I like so much that talks of doing everything lightly, even the hardest things, and I got it. I understood.

And I realized, with her words, that I don’t want to do loud anymore. It has to be gentle and light, touched by those who know what it’s all about. Shabby and worn and loved. That doesn’t mean I cannot deal with the real world- hardly.

But, I am hopeful to have found my center, at least for the present. It involves a lot of observing and listening. And remembering. It’s breathing deeply and often creating. It is waiting on the big things to be absolutely sure, while taking care of the small things to keep it real.

So, among the fiddleheads I am unfurling slowly, mindful of my beautiful vulnerabilities that are really my strengths.

And recognizing those people and their actions, in real time and in hindsight, whose influences are so profound.

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