Saturday, February 20, 2010

Realizing our Dreams

Every Monday morning, from 10 til noon, you will find me at the Public Library in the Carnagie Room. This is where a very diverse and eclectic group of women meet to knit. We  bring our yarns and our various styles of needles, and we knit for two or three hours. We knit and we talk and we share and we learn. We bounce ideas off one another. We rejoice about Life, and we complain about it. We laugh uncontrollably and we listen with great intensity.

To the Outside World, we appear to simply knit and create garments out of various wools and silks and cottons and acrylics. We do nothing out of the ordinary, and certainly not anything that would qualify as even important. At least not in this world where Nothing is handmade and Everything is much cheaper readymade.

But we all know that there is lots more to this weekly gathering than just twisting yarns around a smooth shank of bamboo or a slick piece of aluminum. We know that, while we knit, we are also building. Building friendships and binding ourselves together with the thick mastic of love and concern and the healing balm of listening.

I knit with my Collie Wool (see the blog in Sept, 2008). Another friend knits only lace with spiderweb sized silk. Another only knits fuzzy, hairy acrylics. Yet another friend knits garter stitch scarves for everyone in her family. There is one lady whose husband spun her yarn from their wooly spring lambs. One lady knits torn-up strips from bandanas. We have all found what makes our hearts sing, and the click of the warm needles plays like a symphony in the Public Library.

Earlier this winter, one member of our group began work on a sweater from the wool of her Shetland Sheep. She had raised these sheep from tiny wooly lambs, and they have become not only her livestock, but also her pets and her dear companions. "Each one has a personality," she tells me. And, of course, she knows them all by name.

So the wool yarn that she is knitting is now becoming a sweater of the most intricate design. She stayed up late at night to conquer each segment, bringing each piece to knit group for our inspection. Finally, one day this month, she entered the room wearing one of the most beautiful sweaters any of us have ever beheld.

The completed project was a garden of tiny twisted cables at the wrists and  ribbing up the frontspieces. Her finishing touches were beautiful shell buttons that slipped easily into her created buttonholes on the opposite side.

Of course the whole knitting group offered up their compliments and their praise (for that is what we do best, these women who knit), and their hands touched and caressed each part of the sweater in great appreciation of her accomplishment. My friend's smile was bigger than I had ever seen her smile before. She was pleased that we were so complimentary and appreciative.

However, as I watched her, modeling and smiling, I came to realize that she was savoring even more inside her heart than she could ever reveal to the rest of us. Her expression was almost holy when she wore this garment. It was like she knew Something Very Important and had experienced something that mere words could never express.

Her smile deepened, and she began to explain to me what she could regarding these sheep, this wool, this knitting. This has been a dream of hers for years, she told me.....To be able to raise her own sheep, shear them, send the fleeces to the spinner, and knit the entire sweater before the weather got too warm to wear it.

So....what we were looking at that day in the Public Library, was actually a very REAL Dream Come True. A Desire of the Heart come into being as something that we could actually touch and see!

What a wonderful Gift she gave us, letting us live out this part of her life, allowing us to share in the joy and the fascination of a Dream becoming a Reality. I felt truly honored to be a part of this moment. There is a connection between us now that is unique and timeless----a bit of "knowing" that we did not have before.....We are no longer ordinary.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Old Friends.....Old Friends....Sit on the Parkbench Like Bookends.....

We have 2 "senior" animals in our household. A "first" for us in all the years we have had cats and dogs. Both of them become "teenagers" this year, and both of them are quite healthy and functioning well.

This morning the house is quiet. Rob is gone, and the TV is off. It is cold and wet outside, and all the animals are strewn around the livingroom floor like patches of shag carpet.

Gary (our 13-year-old Maine Coon cat), is in his customary place beneath the tv cabinet. He lies right in the path of the tv remote and the receiver, making it impossible to change channels. I think he Knows this, and smiles, in his cat-way, in the knowledge he is making our lives a bit more challenging. 
The Alpha-Cat. Don't Mess with Gary. He has switchblades for claws and is not afraid of using them.

Baden, our First Collie, is asleep right by the back door. HE is the reason for all the "Collie things" I do and for all the Colliefriends I have. We've done a lot of things in the past 12 years, BayBay and I. He is the first dog I have ever put a title on. The first one to be a registered Therapy Dog. The first to travel with me out of state. The first one to have ever run Agility (might I mention that, at one point, Baden was #19 Collie in the nation in Agility).


He's retired now. Doesn't drive at night, either. It takes him a while to get up from a down position, and we don't ask him to "sit!" for a cookie anymore. As Rob tells it, "Seniors get in free."

Now they sleep a lot, Gary and Baden. My Animal Communicator friend, Barbara Janelle, tells me that Baden is a bit "surprised" that he sleeps so much. They still romp and cavort and  bark (Baden)  and jump atop the 6-ft-high fence (Gary), but, mostly.....They sleep.

In the Quiet this morning (with the boyz strewn all around the livingroom, remember), I looked up from my knitting because I realized I was hearing a rhythmic sound of gentle, but intense and sonorous breathing. The old boys were working at their task of sleep. They were busily going about their relaxing and re-charging their bodies.  The sweet snoring was perhaps the most beautiful sound of the day. It was like a lovely song sung from the depths of their spirits which had fled, momentarily, to a world of ease and comfort and, well, Youth.

I could weep for the years gone by with these two. I could be saddened knowing that there is less "in front" of these two than there is in the past. And I know, that, come the day, I shall be inconsolable. But, at the this very moment....I can only be grateful for all the days that I have had with these two. These two very different, yet loving characters who have woven themselves into the fabric of my life.  They have taught me volumes and volumes about Life and what is important and how to communicate.

Continue to "be," my dear, furry companions. Continue to sleep on my floor and bark at the younger Collies, Baden. Continue to meow piteously to come inside and snarl at the other cats, Gary. Continue. Continue to dock your wooly bodies next to mine and turn your shining eyes to my face. Continue to teach me. And bring me Peace.