Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In praise of legwarmers: final(ly) installment

In an “Eco-Literacy in Action” workshop last Saturday (sadly, mostly nice folks preaching to the choir, when I could have been out weeding my garden, you know, like “in action”), we talked a lot about the necessity of including tenets of social justice within environmental education. You know, like making sure local organic foods aren’t inaccessible to people without trust funds. Which brought us to the importance of building local communities, which brought me (well, yes, my mind was wandering a bit) right back around to legwarmers. And the schoolyard, my most immediate regularly encountered community, and Chris sitting there on a stump, knitting.

Knitting is a de rigeur activity at my kids’ school. All the kids knit. I, however, do not. But Chris does, and she rocks at it, using large numbers of needles at once, giving the impression that she is fondling a pet porcupine. So of course, when I wanted a new pair of legwarmers, she was the obvious person to ask. She immediately supplied the idea of a much-nicer-than-I-had-in-mind wool, and emailed me several websites with patterns to chose from. And then she sat in the schoolyard working on my legwarmers. Which meant everyone was a part of it, not just me and Chris. Community legwarmers. So when I wore them for crossing guard duty, multiple parents would stick their heads out of their cars to cat-whistle (or, well, at least say “those turned out so great!”). Despite her underestimation of the skinniness of my legs, which meant there was some initial stretching required, the legwarmers from Chris are even cooler and more fun than my other favorite (recycled cotton, stripey, excellent) pair.

So, can legwarmers save the world? Apparently, they can—they meet the strict criteria of being good for individuals, community, and the planet. So, forget Irene Cara, and say it with me: What a feeling!