Knitting through.

Things are hard right now, my friends. I’m casting around for some kind of distraction, some kind of destruction, something to take my mind off, or at least away. My options are limited, since I don’t actually want to make bad decisions.

So this time, I’m taking up my knitting needles and working on a thing of beauty.

I knit because it lets me remain in my head while blunting the sharp edges of distress. It calms me, interests me, the repetitive motion is soothing. I am always getting somewhere. One more step in the spiral, one more link in the chain. It’s a labyrinth, built and explored by my fingers. It’s a path, a journey, there is a beginning, middle, and end, and so much can happen along the way.

A dropped stitch, an error in the pattern, a lapse in concentration. Terrible fates to befall one. I don’t use markers to portion the way, and I don’t weave in lifelines in case something goes wrong and I have to rip back. I just pick up needles and yarn and go. Of all the parts of my life, I am least anxious about knitting.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not anxious. Worry over whether I’m using the right needle size can plague me, fears that the product will be too big, too small, it won’t feel right, it’s not soft enough, it’s too stiff, too loose, it can take me an evening of swatching and choosing to make sure it’s going to be right. (And this is in the least anxious bit of my life. I think I need lavender oil, or maybe gin.) But once I get it right? (“Right” is, of course, subjective.) Once I find the combination, it unlocks my enthusiasm and I fly.

I’m flying on the project I’m knitting now. It’s so gorgeous, pattern complicated and engaging. The colors in the yarn look like fallen leaves from oaks and maples. The yarn even makes this wonderful crunchy, dry-leaf sound as I slide it along the matte gray needles. It’s a lace shawl, but I’m knitting it in heavier yarn. It’s going to be very big when it’s done. A roof. A house. A safe place. An autumn day to spread over me whenever I want one.

So this is me. A maker of beautiful things, in sadness, grief, in confusion and need. Dancing through my days as well as I can even though my heart is heavy. Wrapping the yarn around the needles like my arms around the ones I love.


Today is the birthday of someone I recently lost. I didn’t lose her, exactly, what a silly thing to say. She’s not misplaced. I know exactly where she is. She’s not here anymore.

So, like I said, today is her birthday. No e-mail, no phone call, just this ache where someone I love used to be in my head and my heart.

I was in the neighborhood of the church where she got married. I was in her wedding there, over ten years ago, now. I saw the restaurant where I met her husband, someone else I love very much.

I thought I would go in to the church. I thought I would cry. But then the church was closed for a convention, so there was no crying for me. Not then.

She was a mystic, and she had many things to teach me. This is one of them. You can’t do everything exactly when you want to. Nothing waits. Nothing stays. You can’t engineer a moment of healing, all you can do is wait and let it find you when it will. If it ever comes. Maybe it won’t. Even if it doesn’t, that I want to remember, and grieve, and heal, that has to be enough.

This is the moment, and it is enough. I miss her and I love her, and that is also enough.

Perfection isn’t possible. Why seek it? She said to seek the center, and in the eye of the storm of sadness, and anger, and loss… there will be peace as well.

Happy birthday, Grandmother. I never called you that while you were alive, and now I’m sorry. To be closer would have been better, even if we didn’t know exactly how, and you’ve taught me that.