Yesterday I knit from about 11:10 – 12:10. Chuck, the mailman, was on vacation, and another young guy with a nice beard was subbing for him. He said that the postal workers have been discussing this knitting project…He offered me the choice of either his cheese stick or a ziplock bag of graham crackers. I was touched! It made me think about the book, “The Gift: Creativity and the Modern Artist,” in which Lewis Hyde writes that artistic inspiration is a gift that the artist receives, gives in the making of it, and which is received as gift by the audience who then gives back (in the best case scenario). Those graham crackers were gift to me, nourishment and encouragement to knit on. The artistic gift comes from beyond, which makes it inspiring and alive, not reducible to mere commodity.
A former professor of mine came by. She quit teaching a decade ago or more, and has been traveling and simply being. She asked me if I liked coffee or wine, and I said both…and she invited me to come sit on her porch some day for a visit. (I look forward to it!) She looked so much more relaxed and bohemian now, without the pressure of academia.A lady drove up in a red truck. She told me that a lot of people in her group knit, even the men. I asked her about the group and she said it was a 12 Step Group. She said, “we knit and we kneel.” Then she said “Serenity Now,” gave me a thumbs up and drove away. Several people asked me if I was knitting for peace. More and more people want to know if I’m knitting for a cause. I feel like you can’t simply do something for the beauty of it, you have to have an explanation for everything. (That’s one reason being an artist is so challenging!) I love the idea of “holding space,” of a ministry of presence. But how do you explain that to someone impatient for a measurable and practical goal? Today’s knit, by contrast to yesterday, was rather uneventful, even dull! The sun came out against all odds, hot and bright. I didn’t talk to many people…I have been thinking about the decisions we make in life, like marriage, childbirth, career, or in my case this half-mile knitting project, and how if anyone had told us what we were getting ourselves into, we would probably not have started! Thank God for blindness and naivete! It makes us do brave and bold things, that would make our knees knock had we known better! When I started this project, I anticipated that it would take 1-2 months, a charming summer project. Six months of knitting and counting, I am still glad to have said YES.