It’s Nettle Season, so I don the leather gloves with black bunny fur — I remember my mother used to sport these when it got cold.

I was always a bit baffled about the floofy wrists, which would collect little iceballs in snowy weather, and drip all over the place once they melted. “They aren’t even that warm,” I sneered. I figured my polyester 1980s ski mittens were way better.

Like many children, I would explore deep into the folds of of Mom’s closet. I was intrigued by some other seemingly impractical, and rarely (as in never) seen fashions, such as bellbottom suede pants, with a matching suede coat. In an era of sweatsuits and sneakers, I wondered, “where in the world does she wear these?”

When my mother died, her clothes were passed on to me. And since we are pretty much exactly same size, I saved many of her items. The clothing made the journey, as I did, thousands of miles away, both geographically, and culturally, from New York City. The bunny fur gloves and the leather pantsuit found their way into the drawers and lockers of my prickly, wildish homestead life — so, so different from the house I grew up in.

Eventually, I noticed that the stylish leather pants made for some exceedingly awesome blackberry picking gear, literally saving my ass while thrashing my way through a patch of monster thorns.
And the bunny fur gloves? Wouldn’t ya know it! These proved absolutely perfect for nettle harvesting. Who would have thought that those snazzy wrist puffs weren’t just for glamour’s sake. They protected me exactly where I always get stung — on the tenderest pulse points.

I have the sneaking suspicion that clothes have a mind and a destiny of their own. That they carry the energy and essence of their makers, and takers. That these so-called inanimate objects aren’t inanimate at all.

These furs and leathers insisted on fulfilling their true purpose, no matter if it took multiple generations, a 180 degree reverse in fashion priorities, and several wild trips across great oceans and dusty continents.

I also like to think my mom is smiling at me across the ancestral waters, proud that these garments are being used “properly,” at long last.

Big gratitude to you, Mom for leaving me with wearables which remind me of you every day. I will never stop missing you. And big shout out to Josh Schrei for your Emerald Podcast Episode entitled “Inanimate Objects Aren’t Inanimate, or Objects,” for inspiring this Ode to Clothes, as animate entities in their own right.