Things handmade. About making things.
Is music a thing?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I tossed several balls of interestingly coloured yarns into my bag. Hmm, is this too pink? How about purple? Greens? Grabbed a hat fresh off the needles, and a colourful scarf. Into the tote they went. "I was going to ask Oli if he'd like a hat," I said as my boyfriend waited for me to be ready to actually leave the house, "Do you think he'd like one?"
"Yeah, I think he'd love one. That's a great idea. Here, this ball looks like Oli colours...".
"The green one? Yeah, the hat I'm wearing's made of that, so we can show this to him. What else?"
And so we pulled a few more balls off the pine shelf (and I cannot ooze enough joy at having my yarns on display like this...)
And went to visit with Oli at the hospital.

Oli, known in some circles as the world's tallest free standing fiddle player, is a damn fine musician and he has been coping with leukemia and its various treatments for some months now. In and out of the hospital. Lots of hope, then something happens and the hope is on hold and more tests and treatments and considering grim options. It is not a good time. At least not for most people. But Oli is somehow making the best of it. And friends and well wishers come from across Canada and beyond to send messages and visit with him when they can. Last night his dear friend Kate and his students Emilyn and Jaron turned the sterile hospital cubicle into a music room. There were fiddles and a keyboard set up, you might have mistaken all the tubes and monitors for cables and studio gear.
"We've been officially told to shut up," said Oli. The sounds were traveling beyond the room and, this being a cancer treatment ward, not all the patients were up to the sounds of merry making. Em and Kate had gone out for food so we chatted with Jaron who was just back from six months studying Indian violin in Chennai and Varanesi. I should add that Emilyn and Jaron are from B.C., and haven't missed an opportunity to come and see Oli in Toronto, their teacher and mentor of sorts. It's really lovely. Emilyn and another student of Oli's, Chelsea, revived one of Oli's projects, The Twisted String, and brought about 18 young fiddlers all the way from British Columbia to Toronto to play at a benefit for Oli at Hugh's Room last month. (Hugh's Room - you can bring your knitting but sometimes the lighting is really bad).
So we were chatting and Oliver was drifting in and out of the conversation and suddenly he said, "That's a great green hat."
"Perfect segue," laughed my Boyfriend.
"See, I just happen to have this bag of yarn here..."
Maybe you can already guess what happened.
I could easily have sold this hat 10 times over and given it away 20 times. It is a particular shade of green. Very fresh, very rich, very alive I think. And longish winters seem to bring out a strong longing for green.
I pulled it off my head and tossed it to Oli to try.
It's his hat now.

My head felt a little cold on the way home. But I felt warm.
And the green hat looked vibrant with a lovely orange shawl that Oli had on his bed.

Green & Orange.
Full of life.....

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