These past few years have been so odd. I know I've said this before but I promise, it's relevant to this post so I hope you'll forgive me for repeating myself.
I've had lots of change, some loss, lots of change, some heartbreak, lots of change, some happiness, lots of change and lots of change. And I've learned a lot of things--some very clearly and directly, some which have taken a much more metaphorical and whispery route.
I have said many times that my knitting has saved my life. When things are in turmoil and the future is so uncertain there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction in the accomplishment of a perfectly turned heel or a nicely mattress stitched seam.
But I realized today that it goes much further than that. You see I received two gifts recently. At my Thursday night knitting group, I mentioned a few weeks ago that I love old knitting needles. The brighter and clickier the better. I own a pair of acid green 10 1/2 needles that are the only things that I will knit black yarn with. (Okay I'll do it on something else but I have to really really want to). Black yarn is very hard to see for me while I'm knitting and it just pops on these needles. They just make it so much fun.
The next week when I arrived for our group, my friend R handed me this.
A whole shopping bag of just what I love. And isn't the "Party in a Bag" logo perfect. I'm wild about them. I think I've mentioned R before but if I haven't I have to tell you why she's my friend. It's because we are polar opposites. She is slim and toned in every place that I am soft and pillowy. She is older than me, has children and is married--none of which are on my resume. But it makes me smile every time I see her. She is kind hearted and friendly and, I believe, truly has the best interests of her friends and family in her heart. The fact that I made an offhand comment about the types of needles that I like and the next week she showed up with a whole bag full of them says a lot about her.
Then the next week B showed up. I only met her recently but really like her. And I got to sit right next to her that night. She's a wonderful knitter and an really talented artist and she is just super fun. When she came back from vacation she had a bag full of yarn that she bought in Europe to show us all. And in the same way that I say that R and I are opposites, B's show-and-tell made me feel like we had a little bit of the kindred spirit thing going. I love to share my new discoveries.
On the night that I am talking about, she was working on a really pretty scarf in some absolutely amazing crimson silk. It was love at first sight for me and, luckily, I was sitting next to her and she let me drape the knitted part over my lap and stroke it while she worked on it. She got to the end of the skein and the end of the row and so she gave me this.
It's just a few yards of the silk but it is so damn pretty.
So these two gifts have been sitting on my work table (otherwise known as the coffee table). And this morning, as I was getting ready for my Saturday morning knitting group, I had one of those white light moments.
You see, I have the worlds most wonderful family. We fight and we laugh and we all love each other. But we have to. We're a true family and we will always take care of each other. And we will do anything to make sure that we all have what we need.
But I was reminded this morning that I also have the worlds most wonderful friends. And to go back to the sneaky little metaphorical life lesson, I realized this morning that my friends not only provide me with the tools that I need to succeed but they also provide me with the lifelines that I need to be safe.
The red needles in the picture of R's gift are out of the bag because I will be casting something onto them tonight. And I've been wondering what to do with that beautiful little slip of crimson silk. It was so obvious to me this morning that it will be my new lifeline yarn.
I've only found knitting groups in my area within the past year or so and I've made so many new friends. But I've also gained an understanding of why, historically, women gather (with the occasional man thrown in) . I like to think of us as a royal court whose members take turns being the queen. We've all had the gathering where we had something wonderful to share with the group and the rest of us naturally morphed into ladies in waiting. But I also think that, in addition to our occasional queen-dom, we also have our natural roles in the group. We have the artists, the scientists, the mathematicians. We have the nurturers, the teachers, the mothers, the daughters, the aunts, the nieces.
I think my role is jester. And I do enjoy it so much.
And like the queen and the ladies in waiting, I think we are all the most beautiful in the kingdom.