Wednesday, 13 April 2016 13:47

Passions are contagious; what are yours?

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We’ve all felt it. You know what I mean. It’s that feeling of hesitation when we aren’t sure how much to say about a subject or hobby we find interesting.

 

We wonder if the other person will think we’re weird because of our interest in such things as stamp collecting, gardening or reading true crime stories.
Of course, I’m sure all of you have experienced the disappointment of ignoring the impulse to stay quiet only to realize the person listening to you is totally disinterested. On the other hand, more than a few friendships were formed when two people rolled the dice and shared what they’re passionate about.
Passion is contagious. It has a way of taking a boring subject and making it interesting.
The opposite is also true. If someone doesn’t care about his subject matter everyone can tell. Even if the topic is interesting, no one listens.
I’m reminded of a time when I really didn’t care about a topic, but the other person’s passion for it was infectious.
First, I have to say that as surprising as this may sound, I don’t knit. I know you’re shocked to read that, but it’s true. I’ve never knitted anything in my life, not even a toque or something easy like a scarf. When I knit for the first time, I’ll have to use virgin wool. 
There was a knitter in my town. She had greying hair, wore sweaters, drank herbal tea and loved horses. You know the type. This older lady had a home-based business and offered massages. I was a client of hers due to a boxing injury.
One day, I noticed she had a basket of raw wool on her kitchen table.
The wool hadn’t been spun into yarn yet so I asked what she was going to do with it.
Her eyes lit up, “Oh, well this is Wensleydale!” she exclaimed as the verve in her voice rose.
She described this breed of sheep, the amount of lanolin in the fleece and how the natural oils in wool are like a form of Scotchgard that sheds water and dirt.
Her sentences flowed with ease. It was almost like they were rehearsed. Now that I think of it, maybe she left the basket out on purpose hoping I’d ask…
Anyway, she was on a roll. Next, this energetic knitter (there are two words you never hear together) took out a book and showed me all her favourite breeds of sheep and gave the pros and cons of each from a knitter’s perspective. When finished, she made me feel yarn from different varieties of wool and explained in detail what they could be used to knit.
Then, she gave examples of garments she’d made and told me stories of where she wore them.
Honestly, it was quite interesting because her passion and enthusiasm made me want to hear more. Up to that point, my knowledge of wool was that it was warm, a bit itchy and that it could be used to make Hudson Bay blankets. She opened my mind to a whole world I didn’t know existed. And yet, I was able to connect with her because I’m interested in the history of the fur trade and blankets were a prized commodity.
I explained to her that even though they’re called Hudson Bay blankets, the Bay doesn’t actually make them. They’re manufactured for the Bay by a company called … Wait, I’m getting carried away by a subject I’m passionate about. What I meant to say was, two different people found common ground by sharing their interests.
Eventually, she moved away and I haven’t seen her since, but now when I see a ball of yarn I ask myself, “Is that Wensleydale?”
(Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.)

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.