Several years ago, my brother gave me this black hat made from two layers of cloth—lacey black over solid black. It’s a difficult hat to appreciate from a photograph, because much of its attraction lies in texture—the understated lace, the flowers’ different knits that give the impression of color variations in a monochromatic hat. Shebobo, a fair trade company out of San Francisco, made the hat, and they don’t appear to sell anything like it anymore, though they have other hats that look pretty cool.
My brother knows me well—so well that this hat is somewhat similar to a hat I bought for myself. Because I was already in the habit of wearing the gray hat, I probably haven’t worn this hat as much as it deserves.
I wasn’t planning to wear it (and blog about it) so close to the gray convertible hat. But as I was packing to see the flowers at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, I saw the following weather description on their web site: “The weather can change suddenly and it is frequently windy here during the spring. This is a DESERT grassland, so drink water often. Note that it can be very windy here in the spring.” I figured if they warned me twice about the wind, I’d better take heed. Remembering how cozy the gray hat was at Carrizo Plains, I threw this black cap into the car.
Was I glad I did! The wind blew relentlessly for our entire visit. We ate our picnic lunch with water bottles and cameras weighting our napkins and sandwich wrappers so they wouldn’t blow away, then headed out to hike through the poppies. As we climbed to get the panorama perspective on the wildflowers, the wind shivered the flowers. It Osterized bareheaded climbers' hair and lifted the flaps of sun protection hats like Dumbo ears. This warm, clinging hat was perfect.
Earlier I described hats as being like the ruby slippers transporting me to a more highly-colored fantasy world. But who needs a fantasy world when the landscape itself provides a view of Oz? This time, the hat was only along for the ride.
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Ann Hillesland writes fiction and nonfiction and collects hats. In this blog she vows to wear (not just model, but wear out of the house) every one of her hats, blogging about their histories and their meanings for her.