Last Friday evening I mended my tabi.
Tabi, as you may recall, are the traditional Japanese "sock" that consist of a large toe and a second pocket for all the rest of the toes. They are a standard for the martial arts, of which Iaijustu is one. They are something that one regularly goes through - but just like as with my socks, they all tend to wear in the same place (in this case, on and around the large toe and along the outer side) and it just makes more sense to mend them up as I go for regular practice and keep some pairs for special occasions like demonstrations (embu) or when we are training with the head of our order.
I was alone this particular evening: The Ravishing Mrs. TB and Nighean Dhonn were off on a college visit and Nighean Bhan was out with friends leaving me alone with the animals. It was also an "off" evening in that I had neither Iaijustu class nor weight training; other than my typical practice, it was otherwise free for tasks that needed doing.
And so, I sewed.
I had the my computer open and the option to watch or listen to something as I worked - but I did not. With few exceptions, I find watching YouTube videos or even listening to podcasts a distracting and almost unpleasant thing: they are either consumed in very small dose (20 minutes seems to be the outer limit) or go on in the background as true "white noise" that I have no intention of learning anything from. Streaming services can be similar - fortunately for my time management, the main service that I use pretty regularly fails to post anything on there that is worth watching.
A the Cat came and joined me at some point on the chair. I had scooted to the side to sew; he helpfully moved into the back of the seat (after pushing my thread off the table with that nonchalant expression cats always seem to have) and settled in for the evening. It is always nice to have a presence to sew with.
The dishwasher was a low thrum of washing from the kitchen as I worked. Oddly enough I enjoy the sound of a dishwasher running: there is a sort of regularity and pulsing to it that makes for a pleasing background sound, even working in silence. That silence was enhanced by Poppy The Brave in the chair across from mine, sleeping away, and the sound of the rabbits and guinea pigs as they had their evening meal (the word for the morning and evening feeding in Watership Down is "silflay"; although a completely made up word, it conveys the sense of the activity much better than the phrase "crepuscular feeding").
And so, in the silence of snoring and purring and munching and pulsing water, I sewed.
I am sure that for many, this would seem the perfect waste of a Friday evening for any number of reasons: re-mending a replaceable item, in silence, without distractions, without people, the room filled with the sounds of animals getting along with their lives and nothing else. And yet at the end of my time there - when the tabi were sewn and put to the side and A the Cat curled into a slightly tighter ball - I lingered a little longer, finishing my tea and just sitting.
Sometimes it is just good to take peace where you find it.