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Acknowledge, and Press On.

25 July 2008
Battered by Storm, but Still Alive

Battered by Storm, but Still Growing

This morning I’m tired and feeling lost. The grief process, as I found out last year when my husband lost his father, is long and complicated, and there are some days when I don’t know if I’m going to make it through. Of course, I don’t know what the other option is — mental institution? going on strike? free pass from the Powers That Be? — so I keep plugging.

This reminds me, as so many things do, of knitting. I love so many things about our craft — texture, color, the meditative state I occasionally pass through while penduluming from ‘I love this pattern so freaking much!’ to ‘This sweater is what is wrong with America today’ — but what stands out for me, many days, is the fact that it reminds me about faith.

Lots of knitting techniques look improbable, even insane, on paper, and not being a very visual person I often can’t picture what the instructions I’m following will end up doing. Excellent example: turning the heel of a sock. I don’t have to know how the heel turn works in order to do it. I just have to follow the instructions, line by line, and if the pattern writer and my own fickle skills are in my corner, I will end up with a nice turned heel (and, every time, I feel enormously clever because of it). Magic!

Inexplicably Still Alive

Unexpectedly Hanging In There

And so it is with life. I don’t know how it works — I don’t know the plan, or even if there is a plan, but if I just keep following the instructions (wake up, take shower, water dying aloe plants and inexplicably thriving wildflower pot, go to work unless weekend…) I will get somewhere. I have to do the footwork, but things do change — time keeps moving, the universe heals us, we reach out and help one another as we trudge the path — and I learn something (often grudgingly, it must be admitted) as we go.

I had an acting professor in college who took us through Sense Memory exercises every week. When we got distracted, he’d tell us just to recognize the distraction and move past it: “Acknowledge, and Press On,” he’d intone, making precise but traffic-cop-esque gestures.

So it is. Today, I acknowledge and press on through problems large and small: my mother’s death, my fear that I have killed her plants, an enormous project at work that seems to expand with every milestone I reach, various worries, a CPH with a small error, my very real desire to lie on the floor and sleep for about a million years.

Cabling Past the Error

Cabling Past the Error

But what can you do? You turn the heel with the instructions you’ve got, even if you don’t know how they’re going to work, even if you know something isn’t quite right about the stitch count they’re giving you at the end of every row.

And sometimes, if you’re very good, you’re rewarded with candy cane custard.

Today I’m off to work, to talk to a landscaper about our insane yard, and to Springwater Fiber Workshop for their closing sale. I can’t believe Springwater is going away, but it seems it really is this time.

My friend Elisa and I were actually slated to redo their website this summer, and I’ve asked the folks I know there whether anything can be done to save the place, but it looks like not this time, not in its current form. I’ll post more after I visit this afternoon.

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