I remember wooden spools of thread from my grandmother's sewing box. Some had just a few strands of thread; others were wound thickly with navy, white, pink, aqua, brown, black, tan, gray, green. When the thread was used up, they made perfect end tables for Barbies. In the summertime, I filled the spools with sprigs of forget-me-nots, making fairy-sized vases.

I think there are fewer folks who sew these days. I don't sew, but find it calming to sit in an armchair with a spool of thread, a needle and snippy little scissors, to sew a button or mend a seam. What I miss is that spools of thread aren't wooden anymore, but plastic. They don't have the satisfying feel of miniature furniture. Today's Barbies might like them, though.

Still, I'm pretty sure the fairies would prefer other flower arrangements.

The word "spool" makes me think of "spooling...", my printer status when I send it a long document and it pauses, as if slowly winding up that long thread. There's spooling, and there's unspooling. Maybe there's an unspooling movement. I'll have to check with the unschooling folks and see what they know.

In any case, an ordinary thing can give you all manner of ideas, teach you about the world. I had the honor of being a guest reader for the William Stafford Birthday Celebration last week. I was reminded, once again, of the magical way the Poet teaches us about ordinary moments. I long for that sense of stillness and wonder and delight to pervade my days.

A couple of years ago, I wrote "Ordinary Monday" posts on a regular basis, and I'm returning to that. I really do think that if you can find the magic in the humdrum, your entire life will be filled with the best kind of fairy visitations, and even moments of waiting, or spooling, will be gentle ones.

Write about spools.


  1. I love this post! And in fact, I have some old wooden spools, some empty, some with silk wound round them, found at a garage sale, and you've just added more magic to what was already a lovely little collection. Thanks!

  2. Laura, so glad you get it and share my spool-love! Keep seeing the magic.


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