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And now. . . Part Two.
What was happening? Why was I not being spun into yarn at this exact moment? My mind was whirling. I was frantic. I peered through the clear plastic bag and my senses were suddenly heightened with emotions the farm had never prepared me for. Anger, fear, confusion, and disbelief each crashed over me one after another.
I did my best to calm myself and gather my senses. Soon enough I realized that I had been flung into a pile of other plastic bag bound fiber. The anxiety seemed to cause our plastic bags to quiver. The terrified whispers soon reached me. We had become something called “mill ends.” No one knew exactly what that meant or what would become of us. The few permanent wool residents of the mill only knew that soon we would be taken away. They never had learned what became of the pitied mill ends.
What is it about an unknown future that consumes us with fear? As we stare into the dark cave of what is to come, we dig in, twisting and writhing against our lack of knowledge. I was so fretful I began tying pieces of my fiber into tiny little knots.
It was not long before a jolly looking woman gathered us together and shoved us roughly into her grubby mini-van. There was total silence for the entirety of the thirty minute trip. Each of us were preoccupied with the imagined terrors we knew we were about to face.
The back of the mini van opened and the jolly looking woman began to hum as she pulled us quickly from our transport. I forced myself to take in my surroundings and was astonished. This was a residence, not a felt or rug making factory, not a furniture or pillow assembly facility. There were dusty gray skies, cold fresh air, and tufts of green poking up through snow, much like the pastures of my youth. I began to wonder how any of the terrors that we had imagined could happen in a place like this. Perhaps our dread was unfounded?
The woman was met at the door, to what I soon learned was her home, by a man who pecked her happily on the cheek. He took half of her load and inquired about the day’s procurement, by which he meant us. Jenna, as he called her, told him that it was a lot of beautiful merino, she had gotten it for a song, and it would go fast.
Ah, there- I had started to feel that my fate might not be so tragic, but this cozy little home was not our final destination. Determined not to let my hopes rise, to stave myself against what was to come, I did not let myself consider what it meant as Jenna and her husband opened each of our bags, quickly but carefully sorted us, then placed us into plastic bins.
In those bins, comfortable, but tense, we waited. One day, two days, then fiber began to disappear. Jenna would weigh out an amount of one or several colors, pack them into new clean plastic and then package them into a cardboard box before carrying them from the house. Before we had been united in our tragedy, but now, we were to be sectioned off, sent bit by bit over time to our final demise. My fear continued to crystallize. Each time Jenna approached the bins I wondered, would it be me this time? Would I go alone or with others? When would my time come? I was sure that my fibers would become brittle and break from the strain.